NORTH WALES CRUSADERS will meet a major challenge head-on as they look to maintain their interest in this season’s prestigious cup competition.

On the back of a trio of victories already in the competition, the League 1 outfit will play host to Championship club Sheffield Eagles in the fifth round of the famous competition tomorrow at Stadiwm Eirias in Colwyn Bay (1.30pm ko).

Crusaders’ head coach Anthony Murray said: “We obviously wanted a home draw and it will be a massive challenge for us.

“They are a Championship team and they have always managed to stay in the division.

“They won the Challenge Cup in 1998 and they pulled off a really fantastic victory.

“It’s going to be a tough tie, but one we’re looking forward to and one we want to meet the challenge in.”

There will be no shortage of confidence in the Crusaders’ ranks, with excellent victories versus Swinton and Hunslet already achieved during the run.

Fellow League 1 side Hunslet were seen off by a comfortable 30-8 margin with Gav Rodden scoring a hat-trick in the last round, although Murray admitted: “It was a tough challenge.

“I thought both teams were really good on the day. The wind played a part in the game as well and it was a real close contested game until the last 15 minutes.”

As with the win at Swinton in the previous round, Murray was once again delighted with the Crusaders’ energy levels to get back up the pitch and gain key scores to put the tie to bed.

He said: “I’m really pleased with the result because Hunslet will be up there this season no doubt.

“They train hard and (strength and conditioning coach) Adam (Withy) puts them through their paces.

“They train hard away from the club in their own time as well.

“We’re fortunate we’ve got a group of people who look after themselves. Full credit to all the lads.”

That tie marked the first rugby league match to be played in the Caldy area for well over a century.

“I think it’s the first time rugby league has been played in that area since 1904,” added Murray.

“It’s a really fantastic set-up at Caldy.

“There were 500 people watching and possibly 100 of those were neutral and they got treated to a decent game of rugby. A couple might come to Eirias Park and watch a game.”

Rob Massam - last season’s player of the year - missed the win against Hunslet and hopes to be fit tomorrow.

North Wales are the only remaining Welsh or League 1 side left in the competition and will be flying the flag for both their country and the third tier.

Tickets are priced at £12 for adults and £10 for concessions, with U16s going free. Spectators will also be able to pay on the gate.

Three of the other fifth round ties take place on Sunday with Workington Town, who were hammered 54-4 by Sheffield Eagles in the Championship last weekend, heading to Barrow Raiders for a Cumbrian derby.

Batley Bulldogs host Featherstone Rovers and York City Knights go to Whitehaven.

In Super League action, leaders St Helens host Warrington tonight.

Tonight’s other fixtures: Wakefield v Toulouse; Salford v Hull KR. Tomorrow: Huddersfield v Castleford; Catalans Dragons v Wigan Warriors