Wigan Warriors: Matty Peet wants to take the town on a 'journey' in this year's Challenge Cup
Wigan Warriors head coach Matty Peet says he wants to take the fans on a “journey” in this year’s Challenge Cup.
His side take on Salford Red Devils at the DW Stadium in a sixth round tie on Friday evening (K.O. 7.35pm).As a life-long Wigan fan, Peet knows exactly how important the competition is to the town.
He said: “It’s enormous, there is an expectation that we perform well in all competitions, so as soon as we play a sudden death game, it gets us excited.
“We know it means a lot to the town and fans of the club. To take them on any sort of journey at the moment is what motivates us.
“I have fantastic memories (of the Challenge Cup), it seemed like a constant throughout my childhood, something that you took for granted as a Wigan fan during that era. I know how special it would be for everyone to experience.
“It felt like a never ending run, and then it was Salford who turned us over. They always want to turn up and compete.
“We want to create memories, that’s what sport is about, belonging to something bigger than yourself, and you can only do that by progressing daily and getting the results. The records anyone holds and the trophies in the cabinet are all built on hard work.
“It’s as important to me, as it is to the fans, the players and the staff. We all want to go on that journey, but we know there’s a determined Salford team in the way. Any sort of talk beyond them would be disrespectful.
“Every year we have wanted to win it, I don’t think the expectation or pressure is enhanced. It’s about performing- dead simple. So it’s important our focus is on a tough challenge on Friday evening.
“It brings a different sort of pressure, but from my point of view the focus has to be on our processes, making sure we are prepared physically and technically, but having that motivation of it being a must win.
“We don’t want to be sitting at home watching the next round.”
Peet is expecting a tough test from Salford, and was impressed by them last week in their 26-12 victory over Leeds Rhinos.
“I’m not surprised to see that they’ve turned some decent teams over,” he added.
“Leeds are a quality team, with internationals throughout. Salford went and out worked them and outplayed them, so it was a red flag.
“I always thought they would have a resurgence this year with Paul (Rowley), they are a club who have been in the big games in recent years and the squad they’ve assembled has a lot of hardened NRL and Super League players.”
Peet confirmed that only one absent player from last week would return to his squad for this Friday’s game, with Bevan French and Iain Thornley still unavailable.
“Jake Bibby will come back in for Sam (Halsall), he’s the only one. We are fortunately quite healthy. Bevan is not quite ready, same with Iain. They are closer than they were last week, training hard. Bevan trained with the team today but it won’t be this week.”