Ratchford: Buzz around the place
Utility player Stefan Ratchford enjoyed Challenge Cup final success with the Wolves last season and with the team just 80 minutes away from booking their place for another Wembley appearance the excitement is certainly building.
"The town and club have been lucky over the last four years with the success they've had in the Cup so when it gets down to the quarter final and semi final stages you can feel the buzz around the place. Hopefully the crowd will turn out in big numbers on Sunday and create that atmospheres that will give us the edge to push on to another trip to Wembley."
And on the anticipation and pressure going into these big, knock-out matches.
"I don't think there's any more pressure; it's the Challenge Cup semi final so I don't think you need to ‘big it up' any more than what the game already does. We know it's a massive game; the stake at the end of it is a big prize but if we look too far ahead we are going to slip up. We've just got to concentrate on putting in a big 80-minute performance at the weekend and hopefully things will look after themselves if we get that right."
The team's opposition come Sunday will prove a tough test adds Ratchford.
"It's going to be a really tough game. Hull are a quality side. I think the league position probably tells a lie as to what a good squad they've got. The last time we played them they came away with a victory so I'm sure they will be full of confidence knowing that they can beat us. We've got to be on our guard and probably come up with our best 80 minutes of the season to come away with the win.
"The way they've played in the league and the way they've played in the Cup has been like two different teams. They'll be wanting to put a few wrongs right from last week but also they'll be really confident with the way they've been playing in the Cup so it's going to be a really tough game. But I think the way we've been playing recently is going to make for a really good spectacle."
There'll be no home advantage as both sides travel to Huddersfield on Sunday but Stefan has faith that our fans can make all the difference.
"Last year we played at Salford stadium and Warrington turned out in that many numbers it was almost like a home game. Hopefully the fans turn out again this weekend and create the atmosphere that they can do; I'm sure it will feel like a home game and help spur the boys on that little bit more."
Having experienced the top prize is there even more of a desire to get there again?
"I think most at the club have been involved in a final over the last few years so we have got the experience but the way Hull have been playing in the Cup they will be going in with a ‘try anything out' attitude so we know they are going to be coming up with different trick plays to try and throw us off our game to try and get them the advantage. The situation won't overwhelm us but there will be nerves on the day as it is a Challenge Cup semi final. We've experienced it before and hopefully that can play a part in preparing for Sunday."
Tickets for the semi-final are also still on sale available in store at WolfWare, at WolfWare Online and on 08448 11 11 76 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm). And remember club coach travel is still available at the fantastic price of just £5 per person. Book now in store only.
Hull FC v Warrington Wolves, Sunday 28th July, John Smith's Stadium, 6pm
(photo courtesy of swpix)
26, Jul, 2013