Leigh forward Cory Paterson says the Centurions remain confident they can survive in their first season back in the Betfred Super League as they prepare to take on 2015 champions Leeds at Headingley tomorrow night.
The promoted Centurions made an encouraging start to their campaign, winning three of their first six matches to climb into the top eight, but a run of eight straight defeats saw them tumble down the table.
Although they halted that run with a shock win at Hull last Friday, a 38-0 home defeat by Castleford three days later ensured they remain firmly entrenched in the bottom four, facing a likely battle for survival in the Super 8s Qualifiers.
“We’re going to keep fighting to the end,” said Paterson. “We still believe that if we have a bit of luck, get a few blokes back and keep working hard, the results will take care of themselves.
“We’ll definitely keep fighting and keep working hard for each other and the town. As long as we do that, we’ll have no regrets.”
Leeds need the points to keep in touch with surprise pacesetters Castleford and Salford, especially after their unexpected defeat at bottom club Widnes on Monday.
Leigh gave the Rhinos a scare in their first meeting at the Sports Village in February before going down 17-14 but Paterson is not reading too much into that performance.
“That was early in the year and obviously a few things have changed since then,” he said. “Leeds are a champion side and they’re having a good year.
“They’re especially formidable at Headingley, we have definitely got our work cut out for us on Friday.
“They will want to make up for their loss against Widnes.
“We didn’t play great on Monday so we want to make amends for that as well.”
Paterson, an Australian who previously played in Super League for Hull KR and Salford, missed 10 weeks of the season with repercussions of a head knock, but has played in Leigh’s last three matches, including the tough Spring Bank Holiday weekend double-header.
“We’ve got four games in 12 days and then five games in 19 days, so it’s a bit of a joke, but everyone’s in the same boat,” he said. “It’s tough physically and mentally, but everyone is going through the same thing.”
Leigh have lost centre Ben Crooks to suspension, but loose forward Harrison Hansen is back after sitting out the home defeat by Castleford.
Leeds are boosted by the return of skipper Danny McGuire, who was a late withdrawal from the side that lost at Widnes, while second rower Carl Ablett and prop Keith Galloway are back from longer-term injuries, but back rower Stevie Ward serves a one-match ban.