Brierley pencils in Championship opener as return date

Ryan Brierley is aiming to be fit for the start of the Championship season – and could well return to running next week.

The halfback suffered a pre-season setback after sustaining an ankle injury at the start of this month which was likely to rule him out of action for six to 12 weeks.

However Leigh’s medical staff are hopeful the League Express Readers Poll Championship Player of the Year could start running when the Centurions go on their warm weather training camp to Lanzarote next week.

He has already had the protective boot on his ankle removed and has his sights set on Leigh’s opening Championship fixture against Batley on February 7th.

“We’re going to see how it goes step by step,” said Brierley.

“It’s been a frustrating time watching the lads on the field, I’m certainly not a great spectator. The physios are fed up of me being a spoilt brat around the place.

“It’s a tricky injury because any wrong step can not only be detrimental to my season but my career as well. It’s something I’m not going to rush, but the target is to make the first game of the year.

“If not I might have to wait a couple of games and wait for my shot in the team. We have two great halfbacks in Rangi Chase and Martyn Ridyard who are training really well together so it is going to be a real task to get in before those two.”

Despite it being unlikely he will be involved in the main sessions abroad, Brierley is excited by the prospect of the team training in a different environment and having the opportunity to spend more time together as a unit.

“The training allows us to improve our skill level,” he said.

“The dry and nice weather certainly helps. Beyond that it gives us a chance to get away from the media and have a bit of alone time. We can set some goals that are kept in house and all the boys train really hard.

“It’s certainly a great experience. Last year was the first time I’d been away with the squad and it was one of the best weeks in my career. Waking up and getting paid to play in the sun is a job I don’t think can be topped.”