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Steeton and Oxenhope tie provides cup of cheer for Keighley
Steeton boss Roy Mason hopes Saturday’s crunch cup tie with Oxenhope can give Keighley football a ‘shot in the arm’.
A place in the last eight of the West Riding County FA Challenge Cup is at stake when his side host their Worth Valley neighbours in one of the biggest games the area has seen in recent years.
And, weather permitting, Mason hopes the match (1pm kick-off) can help put Keighley back on the map in the amateur game.
He said: “From the town’s perspective, it is a great game.
“It will be great to have a Keighley team in the last eight.
“Since Silsden won it (in 2003), I don’t think the district has had a side reach the quarter-finals.
“The game in Keighley needs a bit of a shot in the arm and I hope whoever wins on Saturday goes on to reach the final.
“There is a bit of a buzz about the game and I hope the Keighley public really get behind it.”
The sides clashed in the Keighley Cup earlier this season but the stakes are higher this weekend. Whoever wins will be just two games away from the final at Elland Road.
“The county cup really is the pinnacle in local football and, along with the league, is our priority this season,” said Mason.
The Chevrons are targeting revenge for their 5-4 defeat to Oxenhope in October.
Mason said: “We knew we might face Oxenhope when we met Beeston in the last round.
“That was a bit of a spur, especially given our Keighley Cup game against them when we didn’t perform that well.
“Normally, we’d have to wait another year to face them, so it’s nice to get another opportunity to prove we are a better team than what we showed last time.
“It will be a tough game. All credit to Oxenhope, who have really grown stronger over the past few years.”
Oxenhope’s key man in their Keighley Cup triumph was striker Michael Garnett, who scored four times.
The big striker missed their West Yorkshire League Premier Division 3-2 defeat at Leeds City last Saturday with a side strain but is expected to be fit this weekend.
Manager Sam Duffin said: “He will be fine. He is a big player for us but we have lots of other good players too.”
Duffin added: “I’m really looking forward to the game which should be a good boost for local football. I expect it to be a tight match between two equal sides.”
Asked if the Keighley Cup triumph gave his side a psychological edge, he said: “I don’t know about that.
“It was a titanic struggle when we beat them 5-4.
“Having beaten them once gives us confidence we can beat them again but they will fancy their chances on their own pitch.”
Duffin, whose side have a much better league record away from home, is relishing his stint at the helm after stepping up from assistant following the departure of Paul Brearey due to work commitments.
He said: “I’m really enjoying it. It’s very intense at this level but I couldn’t have asked any more from the lads, who have given me everything.”
Duffin praised second-team boss Richard Cummins, whose side – unbeaten in the league – are also bidding for a cup quarter-final spot on Saturday.
They travel to Walton first team, one of the front runners in the Wakefield League, in the West Riding County FA Trophy last 16 (1pm).
“Ricky has done a really good job with the res-erves,” said Duffin.
“It bodes well for the club and shows the strength in depth we have.”
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