Leigh should be able to keep Leeds Rhinos on their toes
Hull KR can stay in touch against Castleford
Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final
Sky Sports Arena, 7.35pm Friday
Leeds aren’t having quite as bad a year as they did in 2016 but a rocky run of five losses in seven games has left the Rhinos' season in severe danger of unravelling.
The champions' chances of retaining their Betfred Super League crown have been receding by the week and their best hopes of silverware lie with the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup - a trophy they have won twice in the last four seasons.
On the first of those two occasions in 2014, Leeds knocked out Leigh in the quarter-finals and they’re 1-4 to get the better of the Centurions again.
The Rhinos have been drawn at home as they were four years ago but this time with the cricket Test match taking place at Headingley, Leeds are using a temporary home at Featherstone.
Those surroundings will be familiar to the Centurions who won 42-20 in the Championship at Post Office Road a fortnight ago.
That was an 11th successive victory for Kieron Purtill’s team but that winning streak was halted last weekend by Championship pacesetters Toronto who rallied from 26-12 down to defeat the Centurions 28-26 at the Summer Bash in Blackpool.
Nevertheless, it was another decent display by Leigh and there’s every reason to believe that they can rattle the Rhinos' cage.
They certainly did so in the 2014 Cup tie which was all-square at half-time before the Super League side scrambled home 25-12.
Bookmakers are anticipating something similar with the underdogs handed a 14-point buffer on the handicap and that looks worth taking.
Leeds look fragile favourites even though coach Brian McDermott should be able to welcome back Joel Moon, Carl Ablett, Matt Parcell and Anthony Mullally.
However, there’s still a lengthy injury list headed by captain Kallum Watkins.
Once again, it’s pertinent to emphasise the importance of the Post Office Road slope. In the last round, Super League side Hull raced into a 30-10 half-time lead playing downhill but Featherstone won the second stanza 10-8.
In Friday's only Super League game, Hull KR may reward support in receipt of an eight-point handicap at home to Castleford.
Rovers beat Wigan last time out and they have lost by more than the line for the KCom Lightstream Stadium game only twice this season.
Cas have only one double-digit away win to their credit this year and still have key players missing through injury.
Widnes have sacked coach Denis Betts after eight seasons at the helm of the Vikings. Widnes are rock-bottom of the table having lost their last eight league matches.
2pts 11-10 Ladbrokes, Coral
Hull KR +10
2pts 10-11 Paddy Power, Sky Bet
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