DEWSBURY Rams face a mammoth task if they are to reach the Northern Rail Cup final when they travel to Leigh Centurions for the second time in seven days on Sunday (3pm).
The Rams suffered a 34-6 defeat to the Co-operative Championship leaders last week and they face an even bigger task when they return to the Leigh Sports Village for Sunday’s semi-final as they will be without several players.
New signing Richard Fletcher, who made his debut at Leigh having joined from Barrow late last week, is cup-tied, while dual registration players William Barthau, Matt Sarsfield, Elliot Hodgson and Aston Wilson are all ineligible for the Northern Rail Cup.
However, coach Warren Jowitt is boosted by the return of two key players as second row forward Elliott Cosgrove is available after a two-match suspension, while half-back Pat Walker has recovered from a dead leg and he is set to partner Dominic Brambani.
Despite last Sunday’s setback Jowitt remains upbeat that the Rams can overcome the odds and reverse the result to guide Dewsbury to the cup final.
Jowitt said: “It is cup rugby and anything can happen.
“Everyone is looking forward to it and the players are looking to rectify last week’s defeat and are confident they can beat Leigh.”
Dewsbury may face huge odds if they are to reach the showpiece final in Blackpool but they can take heart from the way local rivals Batley Bulldogs performed in last year’s competition.
Batley also overcame the underdogs tag to win their semi-final at Leigh and then went on to defeat Widnes in a thrilling final in Blackpool.
However, the odds Dewsbury are facing are much greater as they have not won in eight league matches.
It is 10 weeks since Dewsbury booked their place in the Northern Rail semi-finals, when they produced their best display of the season to defeat holders Batley 38-22.
Jowitt added: “Getting to the final would be good for everyone involved with the club, the fans and players.
“It would create a real buzz, help put a smile on everybody’s faces and winning on Sunday, I’m sure, would help us get back on track in the league.”