FEATHERSTONE ROVERS will face full-time opposition for the third time in five Betfred Championship rounds when they visit Leigh Centurions tomorrow (3pm).
Leigh, relegated from Betfred Super League last year, have held the upper hand in recent seasons, but boast only one win from their opening four games this term.
Neil Jukes resigned this week – after two years as coach – and Kieron Purtill has been placed in caretaker charge.
Their squad includes veteran hooker Micky Higham who retired at the end of last season, but has been persuaded to sign as new one-year contract.
“It’s another massive test for us,” Rovers boss John Duffy – who is a former Leigh player – said.
“Obviously they are another full-time team and you look at the quality in their ranks.
“Micky Higham signing back on is a plus for them as well and we have got some ex-Leigh lads so it all makes for a really good game.”
Leigh are fourth from bottom, six places below Rovers, but Duffy isn’t reading anything into their slow start.
“I don’t think we can concern ourselves with what’s going on at Leigh,” he insisted.
“That’s their business.
“Kieron Purtill is a fantastic coach, I spent time with him at Huddersfield and Leigh last year.
“He will have them prepared and ready for the game.
“We have just got to concentrate on us and making sure we acquit ourselves well.”
Rovers have lost only once in the opening four rounds, away to unbeaten leaders London Broncos two weeks ago.
They bounced back by thrashing Sheffield Eagles 58-14 last Sunday and Duffy said they will travel to Leigh with “loads of confidence”, though he admitted they will need to improve.
He said: “We were good last week.
“I was happy with the response after the London game.
“We wanted to turn it around and we scored some really good tries, but we are going to have to be a lot better defensively this week if we want to get anything out of the game.”
Leigh Sports Village has undersoil heating and the host club are confident tomorrow’s game will go ahead despite the recent freezing weather.