"IT'S a fix! It's got to be! Great stuff!"

That was the reaction of a delighted York Acorn boss Scott Rhodes as his amateurs were amazingly drawn out of the hat to meet pro neighbours York City Knights in a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup dream derby.

The two clubs will clash at Bootham Crescent over the weekend of February 27-28 in a third round tie for which the Minster city's rugby league fraternity had been praying.

The draw was made at North Wales Crusaders' Racecourse Ground in Wrexham, by Lance Todd Trophy winner Lee Briers, the Warrington legend, and ex-Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley.

Joked Rhodes: "We had the Rochdale derby (Rochdale Mayfield ARLC v Rochdale Hornets) come out of the hat, and then the York derby - it's got to be a fix! Great isn't it! I love it.

"In all seriousness, it's a dream draw for us, and for York.

"It's the draw everyone wanted. What a derby. The lads are over the moon.

"I had a sneaking feeling all day it would happen. I kept saying to myself, 'We'll get York, we'll get York.' Then it happened. I can't believe it.

"I had about 50 missed calls in five minutes."

Only late last month the two clubs faced each other in a training match - preparation that helped Acorn beat Sharlston Rovers in the first round, their opening fixture of 2016. They then beat Cumbrian champions Distington on Saturday to get into tonight's hat.

Rhodes, himself a former Knights captain, is well aware his side will be huge underdogs - but he isn't going to rule out their chances.

"It will be tough," he said. "We trained against them and they seemed to open us up at will in that session. But we've got to make the most of it, go there and test ourselves.

"There's a big difference between amateur players and paid players. But I don't know. I'll come up with a game plan and the lads will do their best as they always do.

"We're already really looking forward to it. All the players are buzzing."

He added: "I'm sure it will create a lot of interest in the town. There'll be a fair few there, definitely."

The Knights kick off their season this Sunday against Hunslet in the iPro Sport Cup, with this derby tie following a week later.

The third round features the nine winners from round two and the 15 Kingstone Press League One clubs.

The pick of the all-professional ties sees Hunslet host Barrow, while, elsewhere, Cumbrian amateurs Wath Brow host Toulouse.

Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, round 3 draw: Hunslet v Barrow, Oxford v Castleford Lock Lane, Rochdale Mayfield v Rochdale Hornets, Pilkington Recs v London Skolars, Kells v Hemel Stags, West Hull v Doncaster, York City Knights v York Acorn, Siddal v Newcastle Thunder, North Wales Crusaders v University of Gloucestershire All Golds, Wath Brow Hornets v Toulouse, Keighley v Coventry, Featherstone Lions v South Wales Scorpions. Ties to be played February 27-28.