Challenge Cup: Elland's giant task

ELLAND have a massive Challenge Cup task at home to Thatto Heath tomorrow (1.30) but coach Karl Fairbank is hoping his side can give the Conference Premier Division table-toppers something to think about.

Fairbank's side have been making steady progress in their first season of Conference rugby, climbing to fourth in Division Two and overcoming Doncaster side Moorends 24-12 away in the National Cup six days ago.

Tomorrow's visitors from St Helens represent a sharp rise in class of opponent but Fairbank says his men are looking forward to it.

"This is a big challenge for us and will show us how far we have got to go," said the former Great Britain international forward.

"Anything can happen in the cup, especially at home and if we have good vocal support.

"We are playing fairly well and hopefully we can frighten them a bit."

This week's better weather promises to provide an open game and the Greetland Community Centre pitch dries well but Fairbank is hopeful his side won't get run ragged.

"We are not a wet weather team," he said. "The bit I know about Thatto Heath is that they have a good kicking game and that is one of the worst areas for us so hopefully we can learn from them."

Fullback Dean Avis has completed a suspension but he may have to wait for an opportunity as his replacement, young Fred Walker, has been a revelation and bagged all the team's four tries last week.

Elland will have to manage without Kaysi Pearson, who has joined Featherstone for the season, while Fairbank's son Jack is rated 50-50 to play at loose forward due to a shoulder injury.

More previews of the weekend's rugby league in Friday's Courier