LEIGH Centurions boss Paul Rowley is in optimistic mood as Leigh Centurions continue the defence of the Northern Rail Cup at Sheffield Eagles’ cavernous Don Valley Stadium on Sunday, kick off 3pm.

He had expressed some disappointment immediately after Sunday’s 48-16 defeat of lower level Barrow but he is feeling happier upon fuurther reflection.

“We are really excited about going to Sheffield. Things are looking good," he said.

“After looking at the video there are so many positives to take from the game.

“The scoreline is one. We scored eight tries and conceded three, two of those through kicks which was good ad-lib from Barrow’s point of view and then we let one lazy one in at the end, but I think our defence overall was fantastic and our contact was really good.

“It’s going to stand us in good stead when going to a hard place like Sheffield. We are really pleased on the back end of the result because we are going to take that confidence up to Sheffield.”

Happy with how the team’s structures got through the game, Rowley also praised Bob Beswick after his Leigh full debut.

“He wasn’t fully fit and it’s a massive testament to Bob and speaks of the team spirit in the camp when people are busting a gut to play,” he said.

“Anthony Nicholson had an outstanding game in his place when he came on.

“I was particularly happy with the second half. We played a bit within ourselves in the first half. It was all a little bit edgy, trying to impress on our first fixture.

“We played with no lack of passion or commitment and that is the main thing. We then came to life in the second half and if it results in 48 points every week then I don’t mind!

“I’ll be very surprised if they (Barrow) concede more than 48 points in a game.”

With Jimmy Taylor on stand-by to make his first appearance of the year at Sheffield and luckless Ricky Bibey set to miss out, there will be changes for the Centurions who last played at Don Valley Stadium in 2009 and came away with a 23-22 win thanks to a drop goal from Martyn Ridyard.

Eagles got their season off to a winning start after a faltering opening half that saw them trail against Workington Town before scoring 22 unanswered points to claim a 28-14 win at Derwent Park.

“I’ve spoken to Workington coach Gary Charlton but we pretty much know what we are going to do and we’ll just fine-tune that,” said Rowley.

“The return of Jimmy Taylor could be just the tonic we need. I’ve not decided yet whether he will play but he’ll be coming back into an already strong pack. It’s going to be tough for him, but I’m sure when he gets his chance he won’t let anybody down.”

Centurions are also to continue with their ‘Fetch Bob’ initiative over the next two games in order to raise the profile and numbers entering the ground.

The club needs to attract an average of 2,000 to meet financial obligations and so far, after three games, the figure stands at 1,847.