Dons hope to take the Rail to cup final

The road to the Northern Rail Cup Final starts this weekend for Doncaster - but coach Tony Miller refuses to look any further than the trip to York .

The Cup, a knockout competition for professional clubs outside the game’s top tier, stages its final at the New Shay, Halifax.

But before the Dons can start dreaming of a cup final appearance, they must overcome York City Knights on Sunday (3pm).

“The chance to get to a cup final would be nice, of course,” Miller said.

“For the players, and for the fans.

“But that’s a long way away yet - we just have to focus on York, the hurdle immediately in front of us.

“They’re a very up and down side, but we know their strengths and their weaknesses.

“I’ve watched a few videos of them, so I know largely what to expect from them and I’ve identified some areas that I think we can exploit.”

The Dons haven’t played a game since May 5, when they beat Keighley Cougars 32-12 to register their first win in nine league games.

They then followed that with a free weekend, and Miller added: “That could help and hinder us - it’s probably a bit of both, really.

“We had a good win the week before, so I would have liked to have carried that on.

“But at the same time, some of the lads are carrying a few bumps and bruises so it was good to give them a few days off, without putting them through the rigours of another tough game.”

“We’ve had a really hard run of games over the last few weeks,” Miller continued, “so it was a welcome rest for them and a chance to put their feet up.

“It was a relief to beat Keighley - but I think we deserved it.

“Hopefully this can kick-start our season from here.

“I’ve been saying for weeks now that we’ve not been getting what we deserve from games, but this time we got the rub of the green a little bit and a few decisions went our way.

“We got a few bounces of the ball, and hopefully we can build on that result now, both this weekend and for the rest of the season.”

The Northern Rail has a new format this season, with the Championship clubs - plus two from the lower division - joining at the last 16 stage.

The trip to York’s Huntington Stadium is the first of five successive away games for Miller’s side, who aren’t scheduled to return to their Keepmoat Stadium headquarters until July 7 against Leigh Centurions.

If they overcome York, however, they could receive a home tie in the next round of the cup before then.

“This weekend was pot luck, with it being a cup draw,” Miller said.

“Of course we could have been home or away, but it’s not ideal to have so many games in a row, on the road.

“But on the flip side, when we’ve got these five out of the way, we then have three games in July at home.

“It’s all swings and roundabouts, really. It isn’t ideal, but we have to play every team home and away, don’t we?

“So it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

“It’s part and parcel of the game, really, and just one of those things that we’ll have to deal with.”

Jamie McDonnell, the new IBF bantamweight world champion, visited the Dons before his bout with Mexican Julio Ceja at the Keepmoat on Saturday night.