Leigh boss Rowley predicts ‘electric atmosphere’ for Challenge Cup battle

Leigh boss Paul Rowley
Leigh boss Paul Rowley

Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley believes that this year’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup has given teams from the Championships the chance to chase their Cup dreams.

And he is expecting a bumper crowd for his side’s fifth round tie against Featherstone Rovers at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday (3.00pm).

Leigh and Featherstone are the top two sides in the Championship table, having won 14 out of 16 games played between them, and Rowley is expecting an electric atmosphere ahead of an eagerly-anticipated tie.

“Both sides have tremendous support,” said Rowley. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see near 4,000 people there for the tie. It has really captured everyone’s imagination.

“It is a really good draw and of course both teams have a chance of progressing to the next round, the quarter finals.

“We are the top two Championship teams, and we have enjoyed lots of close battles with Featherstone over the years.

“We totally respect one another and in the build-up to the match we will remain respectful of Featherstone.

“But there is no getting past the fact that it is a really attractive fixture for the fans, and for the neutrals, and everyone is really buying into it. We are just chasing the dream.”

With two all-Championship ties in the fifth round, there are at least two teams from the second tier guaranteed a quarter-final birth, and Rowley believes that is only a good thing for the game.

“All the draws so far have allowed Championships teams to chase the dream so far, but first and foremost we want to do ourselves justice against Featherstone,” said Rowley. “To have the chance to get to the quarter-finals epresents quite a rare opportunity.

“I wish Swinton and Keighley all the best in their tie, the other all-Championships match – I am pleased for everyone representing the Championship.”