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Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Friday, 4 June 2010 11:22 UK

Keighley Cougars can win the Northern Rail Cup - Eaton

Barry Eaton
Eaton took full control of the Cougars in 2007

Coach Barry Eaton believes Keighley Cougars have what it takes to go all the way to the Northern Rail Cup final.

The West Yorkshire side host York City Knights in Sunday's quarter-final.

"There's a long way to go, but we're hoping we can do well against York and can qualify for a semi-final, and who knows from there," said Eaton.

"For us to get to Blackpool would be outstanding. The final is now a massive day on the rugby league calendar for all of the Championship clubs."

The Cougars qualified for the last eight after winning three of their four group games.

The competition is also a chance for the club to start on a level footing after a nine-point deduction in the Championship at the start of the season with Eaton claiming it has given Keighley a real focus heading into the second half of the season.

"The Northern Rail Cup gave us something to focus on without having to concern ourselves with the points deduction in the league, and in my time at the club we had never previously qualified for the next stage of the competition," said the former Dewsbury, Batley and Widnes scrum-half.

"It's moved up a notch the last two seasons, because of the fact that winning it ticks a box for clubs trying to get into Super League.

It will be a tough challenge, but we'll probably be favourites and we're aware of that

Barry Eaton

"In the past perhaps some of the biggest clubs used it as a bit of a pre-season, but now everyone takes it seriously and that's made it more important and appealing."

Sunday will be the first meeting between the Cougars and Knights since Keighley beat York 32-18 on their way to winning the Championship One Grand Final last year.

"We haven't seen York since we beat them in the play-offs on the road to getting to last year's Grand Final," he continued.

"It was a tough tussle, and they've been through a lot of changes since then while we've had a fair bit of continuity.

"They've had a lot of changes in personnel and recently they've brought in Dave Woods on board and by the time they play, he will have settled in.

"It will be a tough challenge, but we'll probably be favourites and we're aware of that."

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see also
Keighley apply for administration
10 Dec 09 |  Rugby League
Cougars coach wins monthly award
08 Jun 09 |  Rugby League

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