LEIGH face the prospect of playing Sunday’s Championship Shield final at Featherstone without a full team.

Centurions started last weekend’s fixture at Dewsbury with only 13 men but ended the game reduced to eleven players due to injury.

That number was down to nine for the week’s first training session. Skipper and talisman Micky Higham is among those now added to the unprecedented casualty list.

The current estimate of potential players available to coach Kieron Purtill for the trip to face Rovers is between nine and 12. A roll call was being taken after Thursday training.

Club officials met with the Rugby Football League but are believed to have been told it’s Leigh responsibility to fulfil the fixture. There is no possibility of making emergency signings.

Claims some players are refusing to play over payment disputes have been rejected and all those missing are genuinely injured, ill or unavailable for other reasons.

However, failure to play the last game of the season could result in sanctions from the RFL, possibly a fine.

On the flip side, cash strapped Centurions could secure an extra £40,000 in funding for next season by virtue of winning the Shield and obtaining a higher placing than favourites Featherstone.

Rovers boss John Duffy only named 14 players when the sides met on September 2 and fashioned an unlikely 22-4 win.

The Yorkshire club had 16 players to choose from for last Sunday’s 34-6 win over Barrow.

But in an extra twist Rovers could call on a number of Leeds Rhinos’ players for the Shield final as part of a dual registration arrangement with the reigning Super League champions.

Harry Newman and Luke Briscoe are two possible recruits; Briscoe scored 28 tries in 19 games before switching back to Leeds in June.

“I think it is a sad state for the game,” said Purtill. “We are two proud clubs and we have been competitive all year yet now we can’t field 17 players for what after all is a final.

“And I can guarantee if we do manage to get 12 players out there, they won’t all be fit to play 80 minutes. So, it’s not ideal.

“Jamie Acton and Ryan Bailey played 80 minutes at Dewsbury last week which they have probably never done before.

“Now they could be asked to do the same things on Sunday. People might say that’s what happened in the past but the game is a lot more physical and the tempo is much quicker.

“Forwards are not used to doing it so you are putting more strain on tired bodies and putting more people at risk of injury.

One positive could be a possible return for Ben Reynolds despite suffering neck injuries in the home defeat to Batley.

“If we have to play, we have to play,” added Purtill. “We are not in an ideal situation but we have got to survive for one more week.”