Keighley Cougars coach Paul March: Middle ground key against Leigh

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Matt Bailey has been loaned out to Hemel Stags along with Ryan Patchett Matt Bailey has been loaned out to Hemel Stags along with Ryan Patchett

Cougars player-coach Paul March says his side are in buoyant mood heading into Sunday’s crunch showdown at home to Championship pacesetters Leigh.

The Centurions are top of the table after three games but March’s team could draw level with them with victory this weekend.

Cougars claimed a thumping 40-14 win at Rochdale on Sunday, which saw winger Paul White and stand-off Danny Jones included in the Championship team of the week.

Now March (pictured) is looking for more of the same against Paul Rowley’s men.

The player-coach, who was given a four-match ban on Tuesday night for questioning the integrity of a match official during the recent defeat at Doncaster, said: “We just need to make sure we’ve got the right attitude and if we do then we will give Leigh a game.

“On paper they’re probably the best side in the league but we’ve got to compete with them in certain areas, primarily the middle unit.

“If we can lay that platform, then we will be able to play our own game.

“I was pleased with the all-round performance last week and we just need to carry that on now into this weekend.”

March gave a debut to former Hunslet half-back Luke Haigh at Rochdale and has also signed Odsal Sedbergh’s free-scoring back Andy Gabriel for the club’s Under-20s side.

March added: “Luke Haigh has come in and played after just one training session and I thought his distribution was pretty good at the weekend. He provides cover while James feather is out injured.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Patchett and Matthew Bailey have joined Hemel Stags of Championship One on a one-month loan.

Patchett made his breakthrough at Cougar Park last year, making his debut in the 84-4 Challenge Cup defeat to Warrington.

Bailey joined last year from Bradford Bulls but missed the majority of the campaign with a broken leg sustained at Barrow in pre-season.

The pair made their Stags debut in the 28-0 defeat to Hunslet last Sunday.

The curtain-raiser to Sunday’s visit of Leigh will be Keighley Albion u-16s versus Cottingham Tigers u-16s, which will kick-off at 12.45pm.

Cougars’ Challenge Cup tie at home to Wath Brow Hornets will take place a week on Saturday at 3pm due to Feather’s testimonial dinner being held later that evening.

Keighley's trip to Halifax has been moved forward 24 hours to Saturday, July 5 in order to avoid clashing with the Tour de France.

* Cougars’ u-20s side lost 42-18 at home to Sheffield Eagles last Thursday, with Liam Darville, Tom Courtney and Ben Blackwell on target.

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