Rugby League - No sentiment for Ratchford

Warrington utility back Stefan Ratchford still has a soft spot for Salford but insists sentiment will not get in his way in Sunday's Tetley's Challenge Cup clash with his old club.

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Rugby League - No sentiment for Ratchford
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Stefan Ratchford is looking to get one over his former club

Ratchford was snapped up by the Wolves from the City Reds 18 months ago and, if Salford's new owner Marwan Koukash gets his way, will be returning to the Salford City Stadium as part of Brian Noble's rebuilt team in 2014. In the meantime, Ratchford remains focused on helping Warrington stay on course for a successful defence of the trophy.

"It's always an honour to be involved in the Challenge Cup and to be playing against my former club makes it even more special," he said.

"After Warrington, Salford are the first club whose score I look for each week. I spent a long time there as a young player and the club will always have a place in my heart.

"I'm still in touch with some of the lads who were there when I was playing and, now that Brian Noble has taken over, hopefully we will see the club take steps forward and turn the tide. However, all that will be put to one side this weekend - I'll be going out there to put in a big performance and hopefully help the team come away with a good win."

The 24-year-old Ratchford is waiting to discover the role he will play in the fifth round tie at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. He was at centre in their 35-28 win over Leeds at Wembley, stepped in at full-back in the absence of Brett Hodgson earlier this season and has deputised for the injured Lee Briers at stand-off for most of the last three months.

The 35-year-old Briers is now ready to reclaim the number six jersey but Ratchford is expected to retain a role in the team and would love to help them reach a fourth final in five years.

"The experience of winning the cup at Wembley is almost impossible to describe," he said.

"As we closed in on the final last season, going through the quarters and semis, the lads who'd been there before were talking about what it was like but nothing comes close to describing the feeling.

"Standing in the tunnel knowing that you're about to walk out in front of 70,000 fans at Wembley is an amazing feeling and just to get that far is a dream come true. As a kid growing up, you dream of making it to that stage and then to go on and win and lift the trophy is just unreal."

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