KIERON Purtill has put his hand up to become Neil Jukes’ permanent successor as Leigh Centurions head coach.

But caretaker boss Purtill admits his chances will be dictated by the performances of the misfiring odds on, pre-season Betfred Championship favourites.

Leigh face Featherstone Rovers, including old boys Martyn Ridyard and Gareth Hock at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) having lost three of their opening four fixtures.

A 32-16 defeat by 12-man Toulouse Olympique last Sunday was Jukes’ last game in charge before his resignation on Monday.

“Everyone probably feels we have let him down,” says Purtill of Jukes’ departure. “You don’t like to see anyone lose their job and it is very difficult.

“But that’s the reality of sport. We have to dust ourselves down and go again this weekend.

“I have always spoken in the past about wanting to be a head coach,’ added Purtill, a Super League assistant to Mick Potter and Royce Simmons at St Helens and Paul Anderson at Huddersfield Giants.

“So, this is a fantastic opportunity even if it is only for a short term.

“It’s not often you go to a club and call home and feel you belong there.

“However, this club has always been in my heart and it means a lot to me and my family.

“I will enjoy the opportunity and give it my best shot. It is Derek Beaumont who makes the decisions but if I am doing a good job hopefully there is something long term.

“If not, I will do everything I can for the good of the club until someone else is put in place.”

Purtill, 41 earlier this month, admits Leigh’s current form, including defeats to Toronto and Barrow, haven’t been good enough.

“Ultimately we get judged on our results so a change has been made. What we have got to do is get everyone up for this week.

“All the boys think they owe ‘Jukesy’ a little so hopefully they will be motivated to get our performances right on the field.

“There are probably a lot of excuses we can use; a new squad coming together, the pitch at Barrow but we don’t want to dwell on anything.”

Purtill agrees third placed Rovers will face a stern test having won three of their opening four games including a 36-18 success over Toulouse.

“We will change a few things to try and invigorate people and get them performing to the standards they should be,” added Purtill

“Featherstone have got some ex-players coming back who will have a point to prove. They are a big, physical team playing with some confidence.”

So, we have got to turn up and perform.”

Fans favourite Ridyard helped Leigh into Super League in 2016 but was on the fringes last year, going on loan to Huddersfield before signing for Rovers.

“Martin was a fantastic player and servant for this club,” added Purtill.

“I hope the fans respect what he did for the club and give him a bit of cheer

“Ultimately though we don’t want him performing too well this weekend.”

Leigh should be boosted by full-back Craig Hall’s return after a three-game absence, but Daniel Mortimer definitely misses with a knee injury suffered against Toulouse.

Prop Jamie Acton, the recipient of a first half Eddy Pettybourne high tackle needs to pass a concussion assessment. Papua New Guinea international, Kurt Baptiste, is several weeks from being fit because of a shoulder problem.

Micky Higham signs playing contract - page 39