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Leeds set to come up against familiar face in Challenge Cup clash

Leeds find one of their own players standing in the way as they bid to reach the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tonight.

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott Credit: Press Association

Rhinos half-back Cory Aston is dual-registered with Championship side Featherstone and is set to line up against his parent club when Rovers visit Headingley.

Another dual-registered player, prop Jordan Baldwinson, has been recalled by the Super League side and named in Brian McDermott's initial squad for the quarter-final, but the coach has no issues facing 22-year-old Aston.

"It's an awkward one," said McDermott of Aston, who is the son of Sheffield Eagles' 1998 Lance Todd Trophy winner Mark Aston. "He's our player and spends a lot of time with us.

"But it's one of those decisions for his development and him to progress. He will want to play against us and show us what he can do. The player comes first in this regard."

The final of the Challenge Cup is played at Wembley Stadium Credit: Press Association

The arrangement that sees Aston, who is yet to make a senior Rhinos appearance, and other players play regularly for Rovers means the links between the two clubs are strong.

While that should give Leeds useful information as they seek to avoid a shock, McDermott feels there can be drawbacks for a fixture such as this.

He said: "It gives them a good insight into us as well, so it works both ways. It gives us something but they know our strengths and weaknesses as well.

"We spent a lot of time in pre-season with them and we've trained with them a few times. All that manifests itself in respect. They are no slouches."<

– Brian McDermott, Leeds Rhinos coach
Rhinos star Rob Burrows has a shoulder injury Credit: Press Association

Leeds will be without influential second-rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan through suspension while scrum-half Rob Burrow will miss out due to a shoulder injury.

McDermott said: "He didn't make his fitness test. He's banged a bit of bone. He's got some metal work in there from a previous injury so he's rattled something and it's just taking a bit of time to settle down."

The Rhinos, third in Super League, will still be heavy favourites against the side fourth in the second tier.

Leeds won convincingly, 62-6, when they last played their West Yorkshire neighbours in the middle eight Qualifiers last season.

Rovers, however, are hopeful of springing an upset.

Featherstone Rovers last won the Challenge Cup in 1983 Credit: Press Association

"There is no pressure on us - it is all on Leeds. We are the underdogs and nobody is expecting us to win.

"It is 80 minutes of rugby and there have been more freak things happen in the Challenge Cup than us beating Leeds."

– Keal Carlile, Featherstone Rovers
  • Leeds Rhinos v Featherstone Rovers: Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final: Friday 16 June: Headingley: Kick-off 2000.