BRAD BILLSBOROUGH is looking forward to finally returning to the field of play, writes SHAUN DAVIES.

Scrum half Billsborough is expected to feature against his old club as North Wales Crusaders head to Heywood Road to tackle Swinton Lions in the third round of the Challenge Cup on Sunday.

A Covid-19 case meant that Billsborough missed the Crusaders’ win over Leigh Miners in the last round.

“I was due to play and then I came out of Covid and I was set to play,” he said.

However, RFL fit to play protocols meant that Billsborough had to sit the game out.

“I was gutted,” he admitted. “We have been back training for quite a while now, so I’m itching to play. I’m ready to go.”

Crusaders head into the tie on the back of a comfortable 40-8 success at Leigh Miners Rangers in the last round, while Swinton thumped hosts the West Wales Raiders 96-0.

“It will be our first tough, competitive game but I’m looking forward to it,” said Billsborough.

“The legs will be going a bit and I’ll be blowing, but it’s all part of the game.”

It will take an excellent run of results for the Crusaders to face a Super League club in the competition.

Top flight sides don’t join the Challenge Cup until the sixth round, which means the Crusaders need to win their next three ties to be in with a chance of coming up against a Super League team.

“There’s no pressure on us,” added Billsborough.

“We go out there, enjoy it and see how far we get in the competition. We want to go as far as we can.”

Forward Kieran Sherratt said: “We’re learning new partnerships and getting used to playing with each other.

“It would’ve been nice to have had the friendly at Barrow, but I thought we grew into the game at Leigh Miners the longer it went on.

“There’s still a lot of the same lads here from when I played for the club in 2020.

“We’ve got plenty of talent in the squad, with both older heads and some new blood coming through.

“It’d be nice to do well in the cup as the start of the league season is still some way off, but we’re taking each game at a time and all our focus is on trying to get a positive result at Swinton.”

If they beat Swinton, Crusaders will host Hunslet or Siddal in two weeks.

Tomorrow’s ties: Rochdale Mayfield v Doncaster; Lock Lane v Rochdale Hornets; London Skolars v Hunslet Club Parkside; Royal Navy v York Acorn.