Leigh JournalRowley: Let's keep our focus (From Leigh Journal)

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Rowley: Let's keep our focus

Leigh Journal: Johnny Pownall, made a successful comeback Johnny Pownall, made a successful comeback

LEIGH Centurions boss Paul Rowley says it is important his men keep their focus for Sunday’s trip to Keighley Cougars, kick off 3pm.

While unbeaten Leigh top the Kingstone Press Championship table after three rounds, Keighley have banked two wins including a 40-14 success at Rochdale Hornets at the weekend.

Winger Paul White dazzled with four tries at Spotland on a day when Ryan Brierley created history in the 52-0 win against Whitehaven by becoming the first Leigh player to score three consecutive hat-tricks.

“Keighley have had a couple of good scalps and started the season quite brightly,” said Rowley.

“They have some good people on board there, like Paul Handforth and Paul White and there is also their other winger Richie Barnett who is quite speedy.

“It’s going to be another tough one. They clocked up 40 points against Rochdale who themselves were quite strong, being able to call upon a few St Helens players and a couple of islanders.

“Keighley have been pretty good and it’s going to be a difficult challenge in a very different environment to what we are used to.

“It’s not an easy route to get to Keighley and you are thrown into their tiny dressing rooms. If you let things like that bother you, then you are a few points down before you start! But, that is our job, to make sure that doesn’t creep into the team and keep them fully focused.”

Cougars will be without their player-coach Paul March, who has been suspended for four matches after being found guilty of questioning the integrity of a match official in the fixture with Doncaster on February 23.

Centurions have been hit with a blow in that Mat Gardner could be ruled out for several months after requiring an operation on his troublesome hip, but better news surrounds Johnny Pownall who came through Leigh’s reserve game against Featherstone last week while Michael Ostick feels he is ‘two to three weeks’ away from a playing return.

Rowley reports no further injury concerns from his squad, meaning that Martyn Ridyard is likely to play despite leaving the field with injury on Sunday having become only the eighth Leigh player to pass 300 goals for the club.

Following the Whitehaven win, Leigh found themselves well represented in the Kingstone Press Championship team of the week with Gregg McNally and Tom Armstrong earning places.

Rowley said: “We are playing well as a team at the minute, or should I say that we are working hard? We can get better.

“There were some areas that we weren’t best pleased with at the weekend, but I suppose not being great in some areas gave us an opportunity to really practice our defence. We are doing all right if our backs are getting plenty of tries.”

Leigh’s reserves travel to Oldham’s Whitebank on Saturday, kick off 2pm, looking to build on their own good start to the season, having beaten Featherstone 44-12.

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