Northern Rail Cup semi-final preview

Leigh Centurions could be boosted by the return of up to six players for Thursday’s Northern Rail Cup semi-final against Batley Bulldogs.

Ian Millward’s side lost against the Bulldogs in Sunday’s Co-operative Championship clash.

But they could exact swift revenge if they can reverse that result in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Thursday.

Leigh assistant coach Paul Rowley said: “We didn’t go to Batley wanting to come up with a performance like that.

“There wasn’t a lack of effort: the effort was there, it was just misguided in places and we had a few players missing. You’ll see a different side in both personnel and performance on Thursday.”

Lee Mitchell, Tyrone McCarthy and Matty Blythe are all available for selection, while Martin Ridyard should also return to action. John Duffy faces a late fitness test.

Ricky Bibey and Robbie Paul have both recently returned to training. They are “hopeful but not confident” of playing, according to Rowley.

Rowley added: “Batley are very tough and don’t mind a physical challenge. They’re very passionate, very tough and very committed, and we’re expecting nothing less.

“When Batley lose, the opposition have really got to earn it, because Karl Harrison’s sides don’t give anything away.”

Batley have doubts over Jason Walton (arm) and Sean Hesketh, but dual-registered centre Josh Griffin is unavailable to play.
Mark Barlow, Mick Govin and Alex Brown are able to feature in Karl Harrison’s line up.

Harrison said: “We have done our homework on Leigh and they didn’t surprise us with anything, but I am sure (coach) Ian Millward will have a few tricks up his sleeve.”

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