MORE young Cougar stars are due to be drafted into the first team this week - after an impressive performance against Halifax.

The Academy team missed out on victory against Halifax by a hair's breadth even though they faced a team packed with first team players.

They went down 24-20 with Halifax scoring a late try and Cougars missed out on an even later score when they were adjudged to have had a foot in touch before touching down on the last move of the game.

"Under-21s coach Glen Barraclough was delighted with their performance and there could be one or two members of that team coming into the line-up at Oldham," said player-coach Barry Eaton.

Eaton was still nursing a bruised shoulder this week, but hopes to be fit to play in Sunday's game. Mark Stubley is another doubt after suffering an injury to his foot in last weekend's game against Rochdale.

"The second half display against Rochdale was disappointing, but we have to remember that we are up against National League One teams who are looking to make it into Super League.

"We have to keep moving forward and the fans can play a big part. I would like to thank everyone for getting behind the team last weekend - we knew the National Rail Cup would be tough but it means we will be well prepared for the league season," Eaton said.

Cougars face amateur side West Bowling, the former club of assistant coach Glen Barraclough, in the Third round of the Challenge Cup on March 12.

The ground has yet to be decided but the amateurs will have 'home' advantage.

Barraclough is the former coach of the National Conference Division One side.

After the draw Director of Rugby, Peter Roe, said: "The good thing is we are playing a local team and it will be great for support as the amateurs will be out to make some money on the day.

"We are going to have to be at out best because there have been occasions in the past when the amateurs have excelled expectations and won. At the end of the day it's their Wembley and they expect to go and enjoy it.

"I had been telling Glen all week that we would get Bowling in the draw and wherever we play the game it will be tough. If we win easy we are expected to and if we are beaten it will be a cup upset.

"We intend to prepare as professionally as we do for any other game. Respect is a great thing and we have to respect West Bowling otherwise we will end up getting turned over."

Roe was very disappointed with the third quarter of last weekend's game with Rochdale when the visitors ran in four tries in a 24 minute spell.

His is looking for an improvement against Oldham, who are also without a win in the competition.

He is also continuing the search for players to add to his squad, particularly in the pack, and talks have been held with a number of Super League clubs looking for players to join the Cougars on loan.

"We are not desperate, but we would like to have another couple of guys in the squad," Eaton said.