Leigh Centurions will be without second row forward Tommy Goulden for Thursday night’s crucial Co-operative Championship semi-final clash with Sheffield Eagles as coach Ian Millward calls on the fans to make all the difference.
“Tommy picked up a hamstring injury in the loss at Featherstone Rovers and will not make the cut for Thursday,” confirmed Millward,
“But if Tommy is missing, the fans can certainly make a difference.
“If they can turn up in numbers and give us that tremendous backing they have given us all season, then they can be our 18th man and help us overcome a Sheffield Eagles side that is in a rich vein of form at present.”
Leigh missed out on automatic qualification for the Grand Final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on October 2 when being beaten 35-20 at the Rovers’ Big Fellas stadium last Sunday.
“We have no complaints,” added Millward, “we were beaten by the better side on the day.
“They played exceptionally well and for the first time this season our pack came off second best.
“We didn’t do things on the edges of our defence that we had done all season and overall didn’t deserve to win.
“But now it is a do or die situation against Sheffield and there will be no problem with getting our boys back up for this one.
“Tommy is a loss to our side as he has been playing well all season, but we have other players who will step into the breach and take it from there.”
Sheffield are the side that knocked Leigh out of the competition last season, and they pushed 50 points past Halifax last Sunday to set up Thursday’s clash at the Leigh Sports Village.
“They are a very potent attacking force with some top line imports such as Misi Tualapapa and Menzie Yere. That result against Halifax, who won it last year, was really impressive.
“But it is not about what Sheffield can do, but about what we can achieve.
“If we play to our potential we are good enough to beat any side. We are smarting after last week’s result and that will make us more determined than ever to make amends.
“This is semi-final rugby with a big prize for the winners and the season over for the losers.
“It is as simple as that and we know where we want to be.
“We just need our marvellous supporters to turn up in their droves and bring others along to cheer us on and help make the difference.”
The game is being covered live on Sky TV and on BBC Radio Manchester on 95.1FM.
In the meantime, the closing date for applications for the coaching position for 2012 and beyond is this weekend with the club already having received around 14 applications from potential incumbents of varying availability.
Former Barrow boss Rod Reddy, ex-Leeds back rower Matt Adamson, the ex-Castleford and Gateshead coach Dave Wood and Rochdale Hornets’ John Stankevitch are among those being mentioned by people from outside the club who claim to have an inside track on those who are looking to take over the reins from Castleford Tigers bound Millward.
Former Halifax and Leigh boss and captain John Pendlebury is another who many would like to see back in charge.
It’s a big decision for the club and they will be looking to carry out their interviews and make an appointment in the not too distant future.