LEIGH Leopards will put plans for their Betfred Challenge Cup defence on the back burner to try and become Super League winners again.

The road back to Wembley begins with a home, last 16 draw on against former Championship adversaries, Featherstone Rovers, on the weekend on March 23/24.

But the current focus is Saturday’s away trip to Hull FC. Leigh’s 22-16 loss to Leeds Rhinos last Friday was their third in a row to start the new campaign.

Add in defeats against Hull KR and Wigan at the back end of last term and Leigh’s last win was a 20-19 golden point success over relegated Wakefield on September 15, 2023.

Hosts Hull aren’t in much better form with their only victory in four outings coming against bottom of the table London Broncos.

Already without skipper John Asiata, Edwin Ipape and Tom Briscoe, head coach Adrian Lam’s latest injury concern is son, Lachlan.

The Papua New Guinea international suffered a near 10 centimetres laceration on a leg muscle caused by a stray boot.

Lam junior hinted he would be back running this week but he’s unlikely to be available to face Hull.

“My heart was in my mouth and I was nervous for him,” recalled Lam senior. “I was repeating to myself ‘please don’t be a knee injury’ so in the context of the injury it is a relief.”

Josh Charnley’s hat-trick helped Leigh to a 24-16 win at the MKM Stadium last season, one half of a Super League double over the Black and Whites.

“We are still trying to find some confidence and find our way with this season,” said Lam who will take charge of his first ever home Challenge Cup tie against Rovers.

“It is great to have the home tie but it doesn’t make the game any easier. We still have to get out there and perform.

“I remember how tough and close those matches were with Featherstone in the Championship. They had a great win (over Wakefield in golden point extra time) so their confidence will be high.”

*Hooker Tommy Porter crossed twice as Leigh Leopards started with their Reserves Championship campaign with a 34-24 win over Leeds Rhinos.

Jacob Gannon, Lewis Baxter, Callum Disney and Tom Nisbet added further tries while Ben McNamara kicked five goals.

Eleanor Dainty and Charlotte Melvin scored two tries apiece as Leigh Leopards defeated Salford Red Devils 40-0 to make it two Northern Women’s Championship wins out of two. Melvin also kicked four conversions in the eight try success.

Leopards now face Super League opposition with Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants visiting Twist Lane in the group stages of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup.

Coach Kieron Purtill said: “I told the team that was the best professional performance since I’ve been involved.”

Leopards host the Rhinos on Sunday (March 17) with a 12-noon kick-off.