BARROW Raiders chairman Steve Neale has his sights set on facing Rugby League’s big boys.
Standing in their way of achieving that goal are League One Oldham, who make the trip to Craven Park this weekend for a Third Round Challenge Cup clash.
But should Raiders emerge victorious on Saturday, in a game being televised live by the BBC, Paul Crarey’s men will only be a couple of steps away for realising Neale’s goal.
Speaking ahead of the big game, the Barrow Raiders chairman told The Mail: “We want a cup run. We want to get to the sixth round which is when the Super League clubs become involved.
“It is three wins to get there, but we play Swinton potentially in the next round, which is another winnable tie, and then we are just one win away from a Super League team.
“Obviously playing the big teams is great for revenue, but it’s good for exposure as well to play these teams, and it’s great for the crowd to see us go up against them.
“So, that’s what we are aiming for.
“We probably won’t go all the way to Wembley, but we want to play the big boys in the rounds further ahead.”
Neale accepts that the Roughyeds will be a tough test for Raiders.
Led by former England and Great Britain scrum-half Sean Long, Oldham have had a major recruitment drive in the close season.
And early signs are that it is already paying dividends.
“Oldham are a team lower than us in terms of the divisions we play, but I’d probably have them as slight favourites given the amount of spending they have done,” admitted Neale.
“They have had a really good pre-season and had a good victory in the 1895 Cup against Halifax, who are a top side within our own division, so I’m expecting a really tough game.”
Of course, Raiders aren’t without talents of their own, and Neale says the clash should be one to watch.
He added: “It should be an exciting game which could go one way or the other, so if you want to be on the edge of your seat, I think this is the game to be at.
“Obviously that’s one of the reasons why the BBC have chosen the game, which is great for us because it’s good to be able to show what we are about in front of the TV cameras hopefully.”
Raiders will be without Max Clarke for the clash as he sits out due to concussion protocols, having been taken to hospital last weekend after suffering an injury in the win over Whitehaven in the 1895 Cup.
They will also be without the services of skipper Jarrad Stack who serves the last of a two-match penalty notice.