Gardner will miss Doncaster clash

Leigh's Matt Gardner
Leigh's Matt Gardner
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Leigh Centurions await the visit of Doncaster on Sunday with the enforced absence of centre Matt Gardner the only concern for coach Paul Rowley.

“Matt took the early guilty plea for an offence in the game against Whitehaven and therefore serves a one match ban on Sunday,” explained Rowley.

“But otherwise we have no injury worries after that very stiff assignment at Whitehaven.

“It was a really testing time especially as we had a nightmare trip there and actually only landed about half an hour before the actual kick off should have taken place. But then we had the wait while they fixed the floodlights and that all added to the pressure.

“It was a real test of their mental toughness and they came through with flying colours.

“But having said that there were plenty of areas of the game where we can improve and must improve. But after all that disruption it was good to come through with the three points.”

Now it’s Doncaster who are the visitors to the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday (kick off 3.00pm) and Rowley is mindful of the good start the opposition have made to the season.

“They have had a couple of good wins against Barrow and Workington and look to have taken the form that saw them win Championship One last season, into this campaign. They have Paul Cook to shove them around the park and in reality he should probably be playing at a much higher level.

“But it is always about us rather than the opposition and in that respect I can see room for improvement, but can also see that we are improving each week.”

Meanwhile Rowley is delighted with his two year extension to his contract that will keep him at Leigh at least until the end of the 2015 season.

“It gives me the opportunity to continue to develop the players and the squad for the next three years, if you count this season,” he said. “It’s good to see that the board have faith in me and of course I am delighted for the security it gives me to further develop my ideas for how we should play and how the club should progress.

“It has been a lot of hard work over the past 12 months to get the team to where it is now and to get the full buy-in of the players. But this contract extension now gives the opportunity for consistency of management upon which we can really start to build something special.”

The Centurions will be determined to keep their momentum going after that defeat at Featherstone on the opening day of the season, and good victories over Hunslet and Whitehaven has set them up nicely for Sunday’s visit from aside above them in the table in fifth position.