Millward not taking Cup clash for granted
Leigh Centurions coach Ian Millward says he is not taking anything for granted as his side prepare for their Northern Rail Cup quarter-final against Widnes Vikings on Thursday, despite the fact that the Leigh won the respective league fixture between the sides 54-16 only a fortnight ago.
The Centurions go into the fixture as the only team in England to hold a 100 per cent record in all competitions, having won all seven of their Northern Rail Cup and Co-operative Championship games so far.
However Widnes, who are also undefeated in the Northern Rail Cup, will be on a high after being granted a Super League licence last week and Millward knows the game will not be straight forward.
“There wasn’t much between us in the league game to tell the truth,” said Millward. “We were behind at half-time and the scoreline could easily have been different. We put in a good second half performance and that’s the sort of performance we’ll need to replicate again this weekend.
“Widnes will be in high spirits after being awarded a Super League licence last week and they’ll also come out with a point to prove against us. They won convincingly this weekend as well so they’ll be going into the game off the back of a win which will give them confidence and that’s the beauty of the sport - you get a chance every week to put right what went wrong the week before, but that’s also the challenge of Cup games in that you only get one opportunity.
“There isn’t a second chance for teams at this stage of a Cup competition and that brings an extra pressure with it and I don’t think the league result will have any sort of bearing on the result this weekend.”
While Widnes ended their run of two consecutive defeats by cruising to a 76-12 victory over York at the weekend, Leigh had the luxury of a weekend off from competition to rest and recuperate but Millward also knows that can lead to complacency.
“We’ve had a week off and that never does any harm for a side,” said Millward. “It gives our guys a chance to rest their bodies and recover from any knocks but there’s also the risk that it can upset your form.
“We’ve gone through the start of the season undefeated and that gives everyone at the club extra confidence, but we know nothing’s permanent and that this sort of streak will eventually come to an end so we just have to go out there and do our best to ensure it doesn’t happen this weekend.
“We always want to win and that’s why our guys play the game, the prospect of winning a cup or a league is a big incentive to the players and they’ll be giving it 100 percent to get through to the next round.”
Tickets for the 2011 Northern Rail Cup final at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, on Sunday July 17 cost from just £12 for adults (£5 concessions) and are available by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 11 13 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk
To keep up to date with all the latest news from the Northern Rail Cup follow @RLChampionships on Twitter.
For more details on Northern Rail visit http://www.northernrail.org/