10th April 2019, 12:17 | ChallengeCup
The Broncos take on Halifax at the Shay while Rovers host Leigh Centurions, another Championship club, as they seek to secure their places in Monday’s draw for the last 16.
Halifax beat the Londoners at home in the Betfred Championship in 2018 and pushed their opponents close on two visits to Ealing but coach Richard Marshall accepts Danny Ward’s promoted team are a different proposition this year.
“We have a good record against London at home but I think they have upped their levels since we played them last year,” he said.
“They’ve improved their squad and they’re playing week in, week out against full-time Super League opposition.
“Danny has done a great job in not only making them competitive but beating the likes of Wigan and Leeds so we know we’ve got our work cut out.”
Halifax have endured an inconsistent start to season, winning five of their opening nine matches, and go into Thursday’s game without two of their most experienced players in skipper Scott Murrell and forward Jacob Fairbank.
“We’ve been up and down,” Marshall said. “We’ve had some magnificent performances, sandwiched between some mediocre ones.
“We’ve not been able to put our strongest team out and we picked up a couple more at the weekend so we’ll be under-strength on Thursday but we’ve got a reserve grade and we’re really proud that we produce our own players.
“There is potential to be an upset. We’re at home and we’re going to go at London. We’re not going to sit back.
“For finances for a club like Halifax to get into the next round and get another Super League team would be fantastic.”
Ward has rotated his squad, bringing back Elliot Kear and Jordan Abdull as well as recalling Sadiq Adebiyi and Ben Hellewell from dual-registration partners Sheffield Eagles.
👀 It was a pretty successful outing last time we came up against @LeighCenturions in the Cup. Will it be the same again as we go toe-to-toe once again on Thursday night?— Hull Kingston Rovers (@hullkrofficial) April 9, 2019
📽️ https://t.co/3xkXlnJygp#REDARMY pic.twitter.com/rHDRYxQdQQ
Meanwhile, Hull KR trio Craig Hall, Ben Crooks and Josh Drinkwater are all set to face their old club when Leigh visit KCOM Craven Park, where coach Tim Sheens could give a debut to back rower Owen Harrison on his 20th birthday.
Harrison, a former City of Hull Academy captain, is the son of Chris Harrison and nephew of Des Harrison, both former Rovers players.
“Owen’s been training with us since halfway through last year,” Sheens said. “We’ve had him at Dewsbury playing against men but have brought him back for the cup and for Easter.”
Rovers are without hooker Shaun Lunt, who has a calf strain, and prop Mose Masoe, who is facing a lay-off of up to six weeks with a broken hand sustained in the 45-26 win over Leeds Rhinos.
“Mose is a huge loss,” Sheens said. “He already has a plate in it from another break and he’ll need surgery.
“He’s a big man and he has done some great things for us this year.”