9:59am Friday 21st March 2014
CROSS Keys bid to take another step towards a return next door when they take on Cardiff at the Arms Park tomorrow afternoon, writes Chris Kirwan.
The Pandy Park outfit face the Blue and Blacks in the quarter-finals of the Swalec Cup and will hope their fine form against the side from the capital continues.
Keys have already done the double over Cardiff in the Premiership, running in four tries for a 38-10 triumph on the plastic pitch and then crossing the line five times when easing to a 45-13 home success last Friday.
A hat-trick would put them 80 minutes away from a Millennium Stadium showdown where they famously lifted the Cup when beating Pontypridd in 2012.
But Keys, who have won away from home at Neath and Bedwas to make the last eight, are taking nothing for granted against a Cardiff side that sit seventh in the Premiership.
"We are fully aware that last week counts for nothing," said head coach Greg Woods. "We fell foul of that situation last season when we beat Neath convincingly in the league (35-7) and then got knocked out of the cup the next weekend (19-12).
"Cardiff will be 100 times better than last Friday and this is a quarter-final in which anything can happen.
"We have had to do things the hard way this season after being drawn away to three Premiership clubs but now we are just two games from playing at the Millennium Stadium and that's massive motivation."
Keys will, however, be looking to follow the same blueprint that allowed them to ease to victory at Pandy Park last weekend.
"The set piece was good and Dorian Jones ran the show from fly-half – that's the recipe for a good cup run," said Wood.
"And we need to defend as well as we did last week when we stopped them getting into their game."
Keys are boosted by the return to fitness of influential captain Leon Andrews, who will start in midfield against his former side after a 13-week layoff with an elbow injury.
The visitors will field a mobile pack for the fast track at the Arms Park with Tom Lampard set to start alongside Ollie Hodge in the second row and Dragons blindside Jevon Groves joining Reuben Tucker and Adam Powell in the back row.
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