Unbeaten Hunslet up for Halifax Cup challenge
The Betfred League One leaders have won all their five competitive games this season – including a Cup tie against amateurs West Bowling – but Championship outfit Halifax will be a step up in class.
“It is a nice break away from the routine of league football and gives us an opportunity to challenge ourselves against a top-four Championship side,” the Parksiders’ coach Gary Thornton said.
“We’re all looking forward to playing against a quality team like that and it will show where we are at.”
Hunslet have not lost since Halifax beat them in the pre-season Yorkshire Cup two months ago and Thornton said his men are “brimming with confidence”.
He added: “It’s the first game for a few weeks we are going into as underdogs so that takes a bit of pressure off. I think everyone is expecting Halifax to be too strong for us, but we have other ideas.
“They will be smarting after their defeat by Toronto last week and they’ve had a bit of a mixed start to the season so they’ll see this as an opportunity to get back on track.
“We have to prepare for them at their best.”
Defence on their own goal line has been Hunslet’s strong point this year and Thornton is looking forward to seeing how that holds up under Championship-standard pressure.
He said: “It will be tested more than Coventry did last week, no disrespect to them.
“When you’re playing a Championship team you’d expect them to spend quite a bit of time on your goal line and with players like Scott Murrell, Ben Johnston and QLT [Quentin Laulu Togaga’e] they have a lot of strike and threat there.
“It is a massive test for us and we have to step up. No disrespect to the teams we’ve been playing, but we’d expect a top-four Championship side to have more quality.”
Hunslet have a partnership with Halifax so none of their dual-registration players will be available, but loan men Jon Luke Kirby and Charlie Martin are eligible and Reece Dean, Niall Flynn and Zach Braham are expected to return.