Millward: Victory on Sunday is vital

Leigh Centurions coach Ian Millward has stated that victory against Dewsbury on Sunday and progression to the Northern Rail Cup final is vital for the club.

Leigh have been in tremendous form on the pitch this season, losing only two games so far in all competitions, but things have been overshadowed by issues off the field, placing additional pressure on a side that are pushing for silverware on two fronts.

“It’s really important for the club to still be involved at this stage of the competition,” said Millward. “We only really get the chance to play for two trophies at this level and every club wants to win, so there’s always pressure on clubs at this stage of the competition to perform and do well.

“The players all want to win but as a club, we could do with the financial reward that comes with making it to the final. We’re an ownerless club at the moment and there is a lot going on behind the scenes so the success and the extra revenue that getting to the final would generate is something that will help the club out massively.

“That probably puts a little extra pressure on the players because they know that winning will mean extra games and extra money as well, but they just need to concentrate on playing and performing on the pitch. We’ve been in great form all season and the guys are playing really well so we’ll just try and keep that going and do a job on the pitch on Sunday.”

Leigh will be firm favourites for the game against Dewsbury, having defeated the Rams by 34-6 in the Co-operative Championship last weekend, but having suffered a shock defeat at the hands of eventual Northern Rail Cup winners Batley Bulldogs in last season’s competition, the Centurions will be working extra hard to ensure they don’t witness a repeat of that disappointment by bowing out to Dewsbury this week.

“We’ve only lost two games all year and one of those was against Super League opposition,” said Millward. “It’s reflecting the hard work that the players put in during the off season and the hard work they put in every week at training. We’ve a very solid unit and they’ve been a joy to coach so far.

“We lost in an upset against Batley at this stage last season, so we know that we need to go into every game fully prepared for the opposition. Last year has taught a few of the players what to expect in this scenario and we learned a lot from that game, so now we need to front up and ensure we don’t repeat that outcome this week.

“We beat them in the league recently so that will give us an extra confidence boost but they’ll be more determined to beat us because of that. We just need to concentrate on the present and focus on the game at hand. We’re always a confident side and we have a strong defence and as long as the players do their best then I’ll be happy.”

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