LEIGH Miners Rangers are now preparing for their 2019 Challenge Cup first round draw tie at the end of the month.

The newly-promoted side will entertaining Oulton Raiders at Twist Lane on Saturday 26 January.

With exotic opponents such as Red Star Belgrade and Irish side Longhorns landing elsewhere it is more familiar foes for Miners who met the Raiders twice last season in the NCL First Division with the honours shared as Miners snatched a dramatic late victory over Oulton in the spring to kick-start their season whilst Oulton’s late-season victory at Raider Park went a long way to securing their own safety and condemning the Leigh side to the play-off lottery.

Such recent memories will provide ample warning to Miners, who haven’t won a tie in the competition since reaching the fifth round in their 2015 Treble-winning campaign.

Overall Miners have a strong home record against the Wakefield club, which includes a 2006 Challenge Cup triumph over an Oulton team which featured future Leeds and GB star Ryan Hall, then an emerging teenage talent who bagged a treble in a losing cause for the Raiders.

However Oulton sprung a cup shock last season when they stunned NCL Premiers Siddal and Miners will need to be on their mettle if they are to win through to round two.

Meanwhile, Leigh East face a local derby in round one.

They have been paired with Wigan St Patricks.