LEIGH Centurions are bracing themselves for a tough Challenge Cup fourth-round clash on Sunday as Championship One promotion chasers Rochdale Hornets roll into town.
It will be their first visit since 2007 when they were relegated from the Championship.
“It’s another test for us,” said head coach Paul Rowley, whose side defeated Swinton Lions 38-4 at Leigh Sports Village on Good Friday.
“They are a very confident side with a very confident coach (John Stankevitch).
“At the weekend, they came up with a really good win against Oldham, who were previously undefeated.
“It’s another ‘derby’ match if you like, so there will be plenty of passion and commitment involved. We'd like to progress into the next round and see what happens from there.
“Rochdale expressed their delight at the cup draw – they fancy their chances against us.
“We’ll pay Rochdale the utmost respect and prepare in the best way we can. Chris Hough is rolling back the years, he’s a player who can be a handful on his day.”
Hough is one of several former Leigh players now donning Hornets colours, with Chris Baines, Anthony Stewart and John Cookson also playing for Rochdale.
Speaking of the last couple of games, in which Centurions have conceded only 10 points, Rowley said: “Defending is a confidence thing and as you get asked more questions and come up with the right answers, you seem to get better and better.
“But I don’t just think it’s been in the last two games. There is probably only the Featherstone game where we were very loose defensively.
“The results suggest that the league is all over the place. It’s very tough and it’s anyone’s game on any given day.”
The same could also be said of a Challenge Cup tie.
“It’s a cliché but we are taking every game one at a time,” said Rowley.
“We want to win as many games as we can.
“This isn't any sort of distraction, there is nothing different in training. There is absolutely no difference to a normal weekly game.”
Leigh are likely to have John Duffy available for selection and Rowley is confident that youngster Ryan Brierley could also feature despite being on dual registration from Castleford, for whom he would then be cup tied.
He will, however, monitor Ricky Bibey after the prop picked up a knock.
Centurions are reminding fans that tickets are available for a ‘Champions Roadshow’ in conjunction with Lancashire Cricket Club to mark their County Championship win and the club's Northern Rail Cup success.
Tickets are priced £15 each with deals available for tables of 10. The roadshow will take place on Friday, May 4, 7.30pm start at Leigh Miners on Twist Lane.
The MC is Lancashire cricket legend Warren Hegg, with Mike Watkinson as guest speaker.