Centurions winger in fitness battle

Leigh Centurions winger Jonathan Pownall
Leigh Centurions winger Jonathan Pownall
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EXCITING young winger Jonathan Pownall is a serious injury concern as Leigh Centurions continue their preparation for the start of the 2013 season.

Pownall had impressed in the game against Wigan just over a week ago, but a knock on the knee saw him limp from the field.

“We took Jonathan off as a precaution more than anything,” explained Centurions coach Paul Rowley. “If it had been an important game we would probably have let him play on. But his leg stiffened up and he has been unable to train since, and we now think he needs a scan to see if there is any ligament damage.

“Obviously we will be hoping that is not the case, but at the moment it doesn’t look good and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can get him sorted out before the start of the season against Featherstone.”

Pownall certainly demonstrated his potential last season, and against Wigan this year he showed great pace, elusiveness and awareness with the ball in hand.

Meanwhile, Pownall was not the only absentee from training this week.

“Our entire back line was unable to train because of knocks and stiffness, this week,” said Rowley,

“Only Ryan Brierley and Thomas Coyle were able to train with the squad, and if we had been playing a league game this weekend, it would have been a worry.

“But, having said that, I am not worried about them being fit for the start of the season. It was just a reaction to the first hit out in a competitive game which can happen.”

Leigh play Swinton Lions in their final pre-season game on January 25, but this Saturday the club will be working with Wigan Warriors in opposed training.

He said Wigan had invited the Leigh players who don’t play against Salford on Thursday night to a training session so the Centurions can work on playing structures.

“But the coaches can stop the game to sort things out and rerun things. It is a great way of getting some quality preparation through a training session.

“It isn’t a game and not meant to be competitive but the players will have to be quick and sharp to make it work.”

Looking ahead to the Swinton game, Rowley is well aware that his players will be severely tested by a club with a lot to prove, especially on a ground they consider to be their home too.

“They will want to beat us and it should be a very competitive game,” he added. “And that is what we want. Things are moving along at just the right pace, and although the lack of backs in training last week was an inconvenience it isn’t a worry.”