Rugby League: Wigan confident of defending unprecedented record: Wakefield Trinity draw strength from position as underdogs in draw for fourth round of Silk Cut Challenge Cup

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The Independent Online
WIGAN will begin the defence of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup that they have made virtually their own with a home fourth-round tie against Wakefield Trinity later this month.

The winners for the last six seasons - an unprecedented record - will be confident of taking the first step towards its retention on the weekend of 29 and 30 January.

'We will give Wakefield every respect,' said the Wigan coach, John Dorahy, who will encourage his side to ignore Wakefield's lowly league position which was only slightly improved by a win over Leigh on Sunday.

'Wakefield won at the weekend which shows they still have something to offer,' Dorahy said. 'Everyone wants Wigan to lose, but I am keen to emulate the success that we've had in the Cup before.'

Wakefield have recently asked their players to take a 20 per cent wage cut and their football chairman, Stuart Farrar, welcomed the cash boost the tie will give them.

'We will be the underdogs, so there's no pressure on us,' he said, 'win or lose, it's a good day for us financially.'

There are three other First Division ties, with Salford going to Castleford, Warrington to Halifax and Leigh to Sheffield Eagles.

Warrington's former Great Britain captain, Mike Gregory, admitted that he would rather have met Halifax later in the competition and at home. 'But they won't relish it either,' he said.

Elsewhere in the draw, the most intriguing tie is at London Crusaders where there will be a return visit from Featherstone Rovers, who were beaten there in the Regal Trophy earlier this season.

St Helens will go to Huddersfield, managed by their former coach, Alex Murphy, in another interesting confrontation between the First and Second Divisions.

The Sheffield Eagles captain, Daryl Powell, will be out for a month, with a recurrence of his Achilles tendon injury and will miss playing for Great Britain in the World Sevens in Sydney on the first weekend of February.

SILK CUT CHALLENGE CUP Fourth round: Castleford v Salford; Barrow v Bradford Northern; Huddersfield v St Helens; Carlisle v Workington Town; Batley v Keighley Cougars; Rochdale Hornets v Leeds; Doncaster v Dewsbury; Hunslet v Oldham; Sheffield Eagles v Leigh; Hull KR v Ryedale-York; Halifax v Warrington; London Crusaders v Featherstone Rovers; Bramley v Widnes; Wigan v Wakefield Trinity; Highfield v Whitehaven; Swinton v Hull. Ties to be played 29 and 30 January.