Micky Higham has labelled Leigh’s Battle of the Borough opponents Wigan as the biggest and best derby for the Centurions.
Captain Higham helped guide the club back to Super League in 2016 and was named Championship Player of the Year following a season full of solid displays.
I don’t think you will be able to beat a Leigh v Wigan derby at our placeMicky Higham
The former Great Britain and England international has also been given the No.9 shirt for the upcoming campaign with other hookers Eloi Pelissier, Liam Hood and Lewis Foster wearing the number 14, 21 and 26 jerseys respectively.
He will be hoping to figure against Wigan when the two sides meet at the Sports Village this Sunday, in the first friendly for both clubs this year.
And local lad Higham expects the rivalry with neighbours Wigan Warriors will be more fierce and competitive than ever before in 2017 – and even top the derbies against his two other former clubs, St Helens and Warrington.
“I don’t think you will be able to beat a Leigh v Wigan derby at our place so that will probably be the one that everybody is buzzing about,” Higham said.
“I am also looking forward to going back and playing against Warrington [Wolves]. I had some great times there and still have some good friends who I have stayed in touch with.
“I am excited to seeing the Leigh Sports Village being full when we play Wigan, Warrington and St Helens at home. It’s going to be exciting.
“I have spoken to some of the players and they can’t wait for the season to get going so I think the atmosphere at home games is going to be massive for us.”
Centurions head coach Neil Jukes has brought in Ben Crooks, Glenn Stewart, Eloi Pelissier, Antoni Maria, Atelea Vea, Ryan Hampshire, James Green and David Thompson to bolster his options for their Super League return.
Liam Kay, Jonathan Pownall, Andrew Dixon and Greg Worthington have joined Paul Rowley’s Toronto Wolfpack while fan favourite Reni Maitua retired.
Australia international Stewart has been the one who has impressed Higham the most so far in pre-season.
The 36-year- old added: “They have all got their own little traits and qualities but I am looking forward to working with Glenn Stewart.
“You can tell he has played at the highest level from what I have seen in training.
“He can add a lot to our team and he plays in the pack but he has hands and feet like a stand-off.
“He can play as a back so it is an extra pair of hands so it will be good to rub shoulders with Glenn.”