FORMER Huntington Stadium favourite Tom Carr insists his Whitehaven side will in no way be taking York City Knights lightly in Sunday’s Challenge Cup clash.
The Cumbrians did the double over Carr and co last year as the Knights were relegated from the Kingstone Press Championship, and they return to Monks Cross after the two clubs were paired together in round three of the famous old competition, among the few semi-pro clubs to miss out on amateur opposition.
But the 22-year-old full-back, who stayed in domestic rugby league’s second tier after making the switch to the Cumbrian coast, says the difference in standard between the divisions will not come into play this weekend.
He also knows all about York’s unwelcoming ground - having helped them to six wins from seven home games at the start of the 2013 campaign prior to a late-season slump - and says he has followed their form since leaving.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said of his impending return. “I spoke to (Knights boss) Gary Thornton over the weekend.
“I’m still in touch with a few players and I look out for York’s scores and reports. They’ve started this season well and we’re expecting it to be tough. We’re not going there thinking we will turn them over just because they’re in a lower league.”
He admits he does not know what reception he will get from the Knights fans - though it promises to be less frosty than the greeting Haven boss Dave Woods probably expects following his more acrimonious departure from York back in 2011.
“I’ve not spoken to Dave about it, to be honest,” he said. “It can go one way or the other, but I got on with them really well last year. I’m there to play rugby and enjoy it - if selected.”
Of Woods, he added: “He’s a good bloke and a good coach.”
Carr still lives in Yorkshire but does not bemoan the 300-mile round trip for training or home matches, which he embarks on with team-mates Paul Johnson and Cain Southernwood. He also says his team’s form is improving, having got a first win of term at Dewsbury following defeats to Keighley and Leigh.
“I’m enjoying it (at Whitehaven)”, he said. “I’m not fussed by the travelling - we have a good craic on the way and it goes pretty quickly.
“In the first game against Keighley, it was a tough place to go and we weren’t at our best.
We played average all the way through.
“Leigh have been trouncing everybody - they’re in great form and we just got in their way.
Before the Dewsbury game we had a meeting to say we needed to stick together as a team and we did that. We’ll look to do the same this Sunday.”
The Jockey Lane entrance to Huntington Stadium is set to remain closed this season. The Knights opened it up again as a trial but not enough people went through the turnstile to make it worthwhile putting on extra staff and stewards to man it.