AUSTRALIAN recruit Kai O’Donnell could make his debut in Leigh’s Good Friday derby show down at Widnes Vikings.

Head coach Adrian Lam says he will have no hesitation selecting the former Canberra Raiders and Cronulla Sharks forward for Centurions’ return to Betfred Championship action.

O’Donnell, whose mum hails from Ashington, birthplace of football legends Bobby and Jackie Charlton, was due to land in the UK as the Journal went to press.

“It is not guaranteed yet and we will see how he trains for the rest of the week,” said Lam of the 23-year-old newcomer’s potential first appearance.

“But he will be included in the squad.

“I did it with Ipape a couple of weeks ago and it worked out well.

“It is a long-haul flight which I have done myself many times so it can take the gas out of you.

“But Kai is a much-needed lift for our squad, especially to our forward pack. I have kept an eye on him in the last couple of years and he is a player who will bring a lot of leg speed to our team and some experience as well.

“He is very fit, one of those players who is non-stop, he is a solid defender and can also find the try line.”

Ben Reynolds and Joe Wardle, rested for the previous win over Dewsbury, come back into contention. Props Mark Ioane and Chris Green remain side-lined by injury.

Leigh, currently second, beat the Vikings 38-4 in this season’s Challenge Cup, helped by a Caleb Aekins’ hat-trick.

Since then, Simon Finnigan’s side has lost three successive Championship games and sit fifth on the ladder.

“Widnes have recruited well from other Super League clubs (including ex Leigh vice-captain, Danny Addy),” added Lam.

“So, it is a bit of sense of unknown in how they are going to line-up.

“At home, they can be a real handful. This is one of those tough away games on an artificial pitch which we haven’t played on yet.”

*Tickets are now on sale for Leigh’s AB Sundecks 1895 Cup home semi-final with Sheffield Eagles on Sunday, May 8 (kick-off 4pm).

The Yorkshire side, winners of the inaugural competition in 2019, earned the right to face Centurions with a 40-6 victory over Whitehaven.

Featherstone tackle Barrow in the other semi-final with the final taking place as curtain raiser to the Challenge Cup final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 28.