Purtill talks down importance of Leigh’s clash with Featherstone

Kieron Purtill has played down the importance of Leigh’s clash with Featherstone as he prepares to take charge for the first time since Neil Jukes’ resignation.

The former Huddersfield assistant has been named caretaker coach following Jukes’ departure, which came after three defeats from the opening four games.

Leigh are ninth ahead of their clash with the in-form Rovers, with another defeat threatening to further extend the gap between themselves and the top four.

During the Super 8s concept, a side has never lost any more than eight games and managed to reach the Qualifiers.

Despite admitting victory would help get their season up and running, Purtill believes it wouldn’t be disastrous if they fell to defeat.

“I don’t think it’s the end of the world if we don’t win, but we’re going into it with every intention of winning the game and it’s almost a must-win game to get our season back on track.

“We’ve brought Micky (Higham) back in which has been a boost for the lads. Now we need some performances right, if you get your performance right normally you come up with the right result. We want to see it as the game that will kickstart our season, but it’s not just this game, we need to back it up.”

The game on Sunday will be the conclusion of a difficult week at LSV, which started on Monday when Jukes resigned.

“There was the disappointment of the result and then Neil moving on,” Purtill admitted.

“It affects everyone in some way, everyone does some soul searching but the reality is we have to dust ourselves down and get ready to play which we’ve done. We’ve changed a couple of things, the boys have worked hard.

“The players have been good. They’re disappointed with the results and feel like they’ve let Neil down in certain areas. But they’ve got to get on with it, they’re professional sportsmen.

“They have to reflect on what they can do better and put in better performances.”

Club owner Derek Beaumont was critical of supporters during the week in light of their reaction to the recent defeat to Toulouse, and Purtill believes the club will be best served with everyone reading from the same page.

“The message is to get behind the boys,” he said.

“We’ve worked really hard this week, we don’t have intentions to lose the game. We’re all striving for the same thing, we all want to win games and be back in Super League. If we all pull together that will help that.”