WEST Bowling head coach Ryan Hunkin is excited ahead of his side's tantalising Challenge Cup First Round clash at Featherstone Lions this weekend, saying that their opponents' current status offers the perfect test.

Fev gained promotion into the National Conference League Premier Division by beating Stanningley in a play-off final in October.

That means they won't be in Division One to face the newly-promoted Wests, but that is just how Hunkin wants it.

He said: "I've made no secret of the fact that we want to get promoted again so playing Prem teams, that have just come up from that league below, gives us an idea of where we're at looking forward.

"The game against Bradford Dudley Hill (on December 28) was the perfect warm up, as we had no injuries and our middles had a good blow.

"Featherstone's biggest strength is that they're physical with big middles. They've also got a right edge centre, whose name I can't quite remember.

"He used to play at Featherstone Rovers, and I know they didn't want him to leave, but he did so because of work. I know he had a big impact in them going up last season."

The game against the Lions could be tough, but Hunkin hopes his side can draw inspiration from their run to the Third Round last year, which saw them visit League One side Hunslet for a glamour tie.

Asked about the experience, Hunkin said: "Last year it was like a pre-season competition for us. It was great to get a taste of the Third Round and put in a good performance like we did at Hunslet (the amateur side lost 56-10).

"We went big last year and we start again this weekend. We have no more pre-season games planned as of yet so we need to keep the run going (if we beat Featherstone) and build going into the year.

"Our first league game of the season is at home to Wigan St Patricks, but that doesn't take place until March 7."