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Tough new year ahead
LEIGH Centurions have been set a tough assignment in the opening couple of weeks of the 2013 Co-operative Championship season.
Paul Rowley’s men have journeys to Featherstone Rovers and Whitehaven inside the first fortnight.
Grand Finalists Rovers are first up on Sunday, February 3, with a home game following against Hunslet on the 10th and then a Valentine’s night clash at Whitehaven's Recreation Ground.
Easter sees home comforts with Leigh playing away at the Sports Village against Swinton and at home on Easter Monday against Workington Town.
Another notable point is last season's mix of Friday games has gone west in favour of more Sunday fixtures.
"I'd rather have had some Friday games in but I am sure that Sunday is a popular decision," said Centurions head coach Paul Rowley.
"Regarding who we are playing and when, well it is what it is. It's a tough league and everyone starts from scratch and everyone is capable of beating one another.
“It will be better again this year. We'll be prepared and we'll give 100 percent as always."
Success, however, may not be rewarded as Rowley has spotted a possible bottleneck of fixtures if sides do well in cup competitions or games are lost due to bad weather.
"I've already had the dream," he quipped.
"Featherstone frozen so we have to go back there on a Wednesday. We have a good cup run and there will be another Wednesday fixture. There is the potential for a fixture pile-up, that is for sure!
"I'll guarantee it, one or two sides will have major problems with fixture pile ups.”
He questions the amount of travel required by teams for Thursday night games.
“I'd like to understand the strategy based around choices. We are away at Whitehaven on a Thursday and that is in effect two work days affected and example number two is Whitehaven having to go to Sheffield. That is special!
"Personally I'm disappointed there aren't more Friday games for us. I think it adds good value to our player welfare, after working all week the players get family time.
“If you look through all the successful teams in Rugby League, they all play on Fridays.
“I think it's a massive advantage being one of only two Lancashire clubs and getting teams to travel to us. I think we have thrown away a big advantage in not playing at least some games on Friday nights.
"To be fair though it's not something we'll study or sulk about, we'll take every game as it comes and we'd like as much support as possible, especially on Sundays and we're expecting big vocal crowds down at the stadium."
This season will see a return of squad numbers and these are set to be revealed publically once Rowley has advised his players.
Leigh's new home and away shirts are going to be revealed at 1.30pm tomorrow, Friday, at the Centurions stall at Leigh Market.
Season ticket sales are progressing at and names of anyone buying a ticket before December 14 will be entered into a special prize draw to win a £500 bicycle courtesy of Halfords, Leigh. A draw will take place to determine the winner on December 21.