Challenge Cup: Dons head to Wales on crusade for first win

Danny Cowling in action against Hunslet
Danny Cowling in action against Hunslet

The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup may not be the Dons’ top priority this season but it is a fair bet to say they will be keen to gallop home at The Racecourse this weekend.

The visit to League One North Wales Crusaders in Sunday’s fourth round tie arguably gives Paul Cooke’s side their best chance of recording their first win of 2015.

Not that the tie will be anywhere near a foregone conclusion given the Dons’ start to the season and how hard they were made to work for their Championship victory away to Crusaders late last season.

“We know it won’t be easy but it gives us the chance of picking up a win and boosting our confidence ahead of the visit of Batley the week after,” said club captain Craig Robinson.

“It’s a tough league this season, as we knew that it would be as a result of it being reduced to 12 teams, three of whom are full-time.

“We’ve had a tough start in terms of fixtures but we can’t keep using that as an excuse because there are no easy games this year.

“Everyone is disappointed with the start we’ve made.”

There has been criticism in some quarters that the dual-registration arrangement has not helped the Dons’ cause.

But despite losing out himself on a couple of occasions this season, there are no complaints from the prop who, by his own admission, has so far failed to hit the heights of last season.

“It worked well for us last year when we finished fourth and I’ve got no complaints,” he said.

“Paul has been open and honest about it from the start and it’s something we’ve all bought into for the good of the club because we all want it to be successful.

“Obviously you are disappointed to miss out but if the club has a player with Super League experience available you’ve just got to accept it if he chooses to play them.

“Anyone left out needs to work extra hard in training to try and make up for the lack of match fitness and then grab their chance with both hands.

“As I say, we haven’t made the start we wanted but we are still confident of finishing in the top eight which is what we targeted this season.”