AMID suggestions that Leigh will send a weakened team to Leeds for Friday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter final, coach Paul Rowley has sought to reassure supporters that whatever side he picks will do the competition justice.
On Tuesday, Leigh’s head of rugby Derek Beaumont said that because of a fixture jam of three games in nine games, the club would have to utilize its entire squad of first team and reserve players.
Beaumont stated: “Given the intensity and importance of league standings in this transitional season for the Championship, we must place our focus on this aspect of our season as it is paramount to the club’s long-term future.
“Fortunately we have a large squad this season and playing three games in nine days will no doubt give Paul the opportunity to look at various individuals and permutations. I know our young boys are excited at the moment.”
Following Friday’s Cup clash at Leeds, Leigh face Championship rivals Halifax and Barrow in quick succession and the priority would appear to be on keeping a grip on top spot. Centurions currently lead the Championship by seven points.
But Rowley said: “We are treating Friday’s game with respect. The Challenge Cup is a fantastic competition and the team that goes to Leeds will do the game justice.
“We know there will be hundreds of Leigh fans at Headingley on Friday and we won’t let them down.
“Last Sunday we played Workington who were probably the biggest side we’ve played all year. It was a tough, physical battle and we picked up a few injuries which we’ll have to assess before picking the squad for Friday.”
Not many people will give Leigh a chance against one of Super League’s best sides and Rowley admits it’s a massive challenge.
He said: “There is a huge gulf between the top of the Super League and the top of the Championship.
“Leeds are one of the most decorated teams in the sport’s history but for us, it’s a game where we are underdogs - probably for the first time this season.”