KEIGHLEY Cougars player-coach Paul March is seeking an improvement from his side in Saturday’s trip to Championship leaders Leigh as they bid to get their play-off campaign back on track.
Two successive defeats at the hands of Halifax and Workington have reawakened Cougars’ relegation fears in a season when the bottom five teams will be demoted.
March’s men lie just one place above the drop zone and now face a Leigh side who saw their remarkable run of 18 straight league wins ended by Doncaster at the weekend.
March, who made his comeback from a two-match stadium ban in Sunday’s home defeat to Workington, said: “It doesn’t get any easier this week with a game against Leigh but they have been beaten now and we should have beaten them at home as well.
“We could be facing a wounded animal but we’ve got to go there and nullify their threats and make sure that we do better than we did against Workington.
“It’s still in our hands. We’re not in the relegation zone at the minute so if we take points out of all our remaining games, then we will stay up and secure a play-off position.
“I want us to be consistent which, up until the Halifax game, we were. I want us to be known as a consistent side because it’s very important.”
Half-back Danny Jones has missed the past two games with a hamstring strain but March is hopeful he will be passed fit to face Leigh.
Jode Sheriffe is also expected to return after missing the Workington match with a minor knee injury.
As for March, he is delighted to be back playing after completing his controversial ban.
The player-coach, who has confirmed he plans to play on next season, made his return to action for Cougars’ Under-20s last week and then started at half-back against Workington on Sunday, scoring a try in the 16-12 defeat.
He said: “It has been a frustrating time for me but it has been great to get back on the field.
“It was exciting when I played for the Under-20s earlier on in the week. I just needed to get out there and I was buzzing.
“It was like the first game of pre-season and I was happy that I got over the line but in the end it doesn’t count for anything.
“My punishment’s done now, though, and I want to make sure we finish in that top nine and go into that Championship next year.”
March says Cougars will look to iron out the flaws which saw them lose to Workington at the weekend and says they have been working on their last-tackle options.
He added: “The belief was always there for us. I went over and we still had a few minutes to go but I think we came up with a poor option on the last tackle late on which cost us.
“The half-backs get paid to make those decisions and they’re not always easy so we’ve had a look where we went wrong through the week. Now we need to put things right against Leigh.”