HEAD coach John Duffy describes Sunday’s visit of Halifax as Leigh’s “biggest challenge” of the season to date.

Duffy’s men were knocked off top spot in the Betfred Championships last weekend after Toulouse’s 40-4 win a Whitehaven and the postponement of Centurions’ game at Swinton due to a waterlogged pitch.

But still with a 100 percent winning record, Duffy says second placed Leigh are keen to make up for lost time against Simon Grix’s side.

“It is always a massive fixture when we play Halifax,” agreed Duffy. “We have had some great battles with them over the years.

“They had a good result last weekend (beating York) and it will be our biggest challenge so far.

“I am just glad it is at home.”

A new date for the trip to Heywood Road has yet to be finalised and Duffy said: “We wanted the game to go ahead.

“Like every other team we don’t want a backlog of fixtures because it can get messy.

“But I went down last Friday and there was no way the game was going to be on.

“The lads were disappointed because they have wanted to get better and keep our run going.

“But we had a couple of niggles that now everyone will be fine for Halifax.”

Sunday’s visitors sit fifth on the ladder after a 28-4 win over York.

The weekend off allowed three key players: Liam Hood (ankle), Gregg McNally (hip) and Jarrod Sammut extra time to recover from a variety of knocks.

However, Andy Thornley is still unavailable after suffering a nasty concussion in the 40-14 pre-season defeat at Salford on January 11.

“Liam is back in full training,” confirmed Duffy. “He went for more treatment and has also been doing a lot of stuff on his own.

“We could have got away with playing him at Swinton but we weren’t going to.

“Gregg is getting there, he is back running and back in contention. Jarrod had niggle in his calf but he is fine now.”

On Thornley’s progress Duffy explained: “Andy is still on his return to play.

“He has seen a neuro-surgeon and needs another three weeks doing contact without any problems.

“We are probably looking at around the Oldham game (March 21) for him to come back and play.”

Martyn Ridyard and Brad Holroyd are in line to make their Rochdale Hornets debuts against Keighley on Sunday after joining the League One outfit on a month’s loan. Neither have featured in Leigh’s first team this season.

Ryan Ince made his first appearance since joining Oldham on loan in Roughyeds’ 26-12 home defeat by Bradford.