THE York City Knights squad have a once-in-a-generation chance of playing at Wembley Stadium this weekend, but the challenge ahead of them on the field is one of the most daunting possible.

York face a Featherstone Rovers side in an incredible run of form which stretches back to the end of the 2019 season.

Featherstone have won 24 of their last 26 matches in all competitions, heading back to September 2019.

It should also be pointed out that the two defeats in that run of matches came against Toronto Wolfpack in the 2019 Million Pound Game and against Betfred Super League giants Hull FC in the Betfred Challenge Cup.

Alongside Toulouse Olympique, Featherstone are the stand-out team in the Betfred Championship, having recorded 12 wins from as many matches in the league in 2021.

They have largely done so in style too - 63 points were put past full-time London Broncos, Bradford Bulls were beaten 44-0 and 68 points were scored against Newcastle Thunder, Dewsbury Rams and Oldham.

Such a clinical and potent attack have scored 537 points from 12 league matches - at an average of just under 45 per game - which is by far the most of any side in the league.

For such a free-scoring side, the Rovers’ defence is not bad either.

The 136 points they have conceded in those dozen Championship sides - at an average of under 12 per game - makes them the second-best defensive side in the division, with top-side Toulouse having played three games less.

Bearing in mind all of their early-season form, it is remarkable that Featherstone find themselves in second place, sitting behind Toulouse only on points difference percentage.

Given the unstoppable run that Featherstone appear to be on, and York’s contrasting six-game losing streak in the Championship, the West Yorkshire club will no doubt enter the game as overwhelming favourites.

The Knights though may well take plenty of confidence from their meeting with Featherstone earlier this season at the LNER Community Stadium.

Although the fixture in May ended in a 16-12 defeat for James Ford’s side, it was secured only through a late try from Craig Hall after the visitors had charged down a Riley Dean drop-goal attempt and the ball bounced kindly for a runaway try.

That victory for Featherstone, a game in which they had been ahead for only a couple of minutes, was their closest of the season, which may act as some consolation for the Knights.

York fans may also take some comfort from the amount of injury concerns that Featherstone have coming into the game.

Fev were without as many as 12 players for last weekend’s 32-10 victory away to Widnes Vikings, which head coach James Webster quipped had the makings of a very good Championship team.

The Rovers boss confirmed earlier this week that five players were definite absentees. Forwards Jack Bussey (ankle), Dale Ferguson (hamstring) and Brad Day (ruptured achilles) are all long-term absentees as are outside backs Thomas Minns and Frankie Halton.

After their Covid scare, Fev have named danger men Craig Hall, Dane Chisolm and Nu Brown in their 21-man squad, as well as one-time Knights loanee Jake Sweeting.

Featherstone: Hall, Welham, Hardcastle, Gale, Chisholm, Kopczak, Brown, Harrison, Ferres, Lockwood, Davies, Cooper, Field, Sweeting, Summers, McConnell, Doyle, Spence.