Kevin Brown is confident that Widnes Vikings will stroll into the semi-finals of Rugby League’s oldest and most prestigious competition when they face Keighley Cougars in a Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final at The Select Security Stadium, Widnes on Thursday (8.00pm).
Brown, one of the form players of the 2014 Super League season, is well aware of the threat that Championship opposition presents, especially after a hard-fought victory over Halifax in the fourth round, but believes that if Widnes play to the standards they have set so far, there is no reason why Vikings fans can’t look forward to a Cup semi-final.
“Keighley have some quality players but if we can play the way we know we can, then we can win comfortably,” said Brown.
“Having a home draw is a massive boost for us. In the last two Cup rounds we have played away at Halifax and at Salford, and they were both really tough games.
“Keighley will not be coming to us to lose the game, and they are probably happy that they got us in the draw. The game is set up nicely.
“The tie against Halifax might have looked comfortable in the end on the scoreboard but it was anything but.”
Widnes head into their quarter-final tie seventh in the Super League table and Brown wants the successful first half of the season to be followed by an equally-impressive second half.
“This will be the start of the second half of the year and it would be good to kick it off by getting to the Challenge Cup semi-finals,” said Brown. “But it is going to be tough and we don’t want to take Keighley too lightly because Super League teams can get burnt.
“We have a group of lads that want success. Denis Betts has instilled a belief that we can compete in the big competitions and our next progression is competing in big finals.
“But then again, just talking about complacency doesn’t mean that it is not a danger. We can’t give them any extra help or enthusiasm.
“On paper, as a full-time side, we are much fitter than they are, so it will be good if we can get them into an arm wrestle, but we know that they’ll come firing at us.
“We will respect them and I will tell the boys to treat them as if we were playing Leeds or Wigan in Super League, but I will also tell them to enjoy the occasion.
“We reached the quarter-finals last year, so to reach the semi-finals would be a good achievement at a club where progression is the key.”
Tickets for the Widnes Vikings v Keighley Cougars Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final tie at The Select Security Stadium, Widnes, can be purchased from as little as £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and with juniors for free.