HUNSLET will head into Sunday’s attractive tie with Keighley Cougars in the second round of the Betfred Challenge Cup – the Parksiders’ first outing of the year – with around nine or ten players of head coach Alan Kilshaw’s new-look side on debut.
`Killer’ has been busy rebuilding his squad during the close season and has amassed an exciting blend of youth and experience.
He and his assistant Ryan Jackson have been boosted by the return to fitness of fullback or threequarter Jack Render, who has fully recovered from a fractured ankle sustained in training towards the end of November; Kilshaw expects to announce his squad for the Keighley clash on Friday, with all his players fit for selection.
The Parksiders go into the fixture without having played any pre-season friendlies, although by Sunday leading local amateur outfits East Leeds and Hunslet Club Parkside will both have provided opposition in `behind closed doors’ training fixtures.
Kilshaw admitted: “By comparison with Keighley, we may be a little undercooked for the tie, given that the Cougars haven’t made too many changes to their squad from last year. We’ll be concentrating mainly on our own performance in the build-up, we will expect a more disciplined Keighley with and without the ball and possibly some different structures in defence as Andrew Henderson has been brought in as head of rugby; his stamp on them will be clear.
“It should be a good game and both teams will be keen to progress, especially as the League 1 season doesn’t start until late March.”