FIRST things first . . . that was Oldham’s reaction today to a fifth-round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup draw that paired them with Hull KR at the KC Lightstream Stadium.
The Roughyeds’ trip to East Hull and to their Super League opponents will be on the weekend of April 16 and 17, but before then Scott Naylor’s men have four important and testing Championship games — three of them on ‘home’ soil at Bower Fold.
Halifax are at Stalybridge on Friday (3pm); Batley Bulldogs visit on Sunday, April 3; and Sheffield Eagles follow on Sunday, April 10.
The only away game during that period is against Swinton Lions at Sale RU Club on Easter Monday (2pm kick-off).
“We’ve got big games coming up before the next round of the cup,” said coach Scott Naylor. “Right now, my focus is on the next big test —- Halifax on Friday at Bower Fold.
“We would have liked an easier cup draw than Hull KR away, but it is what it is so we will have to deal with it. We’ll go there and give it a go. There’s nothing much else to say about it, certainly not now.”
Club chairman Chris Hamilton added: “With due respect to Hull KR and the Challenge Cup competition, we have a lot on our minds before we go over there. Our next four Championship matches are very important — three at home and the other against the side that was promoted with us last year — and we need to pick up more points.
“When you draw a Super League club in the cup you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s a massive challenge for our players, not least in physicality. We’re playing against full-time players in some of our Championship games, but there’s a big difference between them and the full-time Super League players.
“Hull KR haven’t started as well as they would have hoped this year, but their last game in the Challenge Cup was in last season’s final against Leeds Rhinos at Wembley and that in itself is an indication of the big test that awaits us.”
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Sheffield Eagles; Hull KR v OLDHAM; Toulouse v Leigh Centurions; Rochdale Hornets v Widnes Vikings; Hunslet Hawks v Salford Red Devils; Halifax v Lock Lane; Batley Bulldogs v Featherstone Rovers; Dewsbury Rams v York City Knights.
One of the ties, still to be announced, will be shown on Sky Sports on Saturday, April 16 with a 5pm kick-off. All other ties will be played on the same weekend.