LEIGH coach Neil Jukes admits a weight was lifted by Sunday’s Championship victory over Batley.

But despite a pre-game vote of confidence from chairman and owner, Derek Beaumont, Jukes is well aware of the expectations on him and his group of players.

Centurions travel to Barrow on Sunday; the Cumbrians boosted by a battling eight-all draw against Toronto Wolfpack.

And Jukes says that result was further evidence of the strength in depth of the game’s second tier.

“It was a pressure game for everyone,” said Jukes of Batley’s visit. “We were coming off the loss against Toronto but everyone expected us to win.

“So, it was important to get back out there, get the victory, relax and look the good side which we are.

“We know we are not perfect but I am not sure any team with 19 new players is going to be.

“I am just glad we improved in the areas we spoke about in the week and which we had practised on.

“I can look back on 2016 and for big periods we were scratchy. We only hit form four to six weeks before coming into the Middle 8’s .

“What we did in the other rounds was come up with good wins and good effort.”

On Leigh’s trip to Craven Park Jukes added: “I saw a stat saying they hadn’t lost at home since 2016.

“So, we have got to go there with the right attitude. And we will need to be better than what we were in the first 40 against Batley.

“No one will tell me there are any easy games in the Championship.”

Six months Leigh and Barrow were separated by two divisions. But Centurions’ relegation from Super League and the Raiders promotion from League One have put them on a level playing field.

“It’s good everyone is looking forward to playing us and we have got to expect everyone’s best efforts,” added Jukes.

“However, we play ourselves regarding our discipline and attention to detail. If we turn up with a sloppy attitude we will get beat.”

Jukes and Beaumont were the subject of fans’ criticism after the opening day defeat to Paul Rowley’s Toronto.

Now Beaumont has bit back in typically robust fashion. Writing in his programme notes for the Batley game, he said:

“The day I believe that Neil isn’t the right person for the job or is restricting our opportunity of returning to Super League and being competitive I will do what is required and replace him and he is fully aware of that.

“He is a genuine, honest, very hard-working man who lives and breathes this Club and genuinely cares for it.

“It’s easy to kick the coach but in the end, it’s the players’ performance that needs to be addressed.”