Harrison happy with double bill

Bad break: Mark Goodman
Bad break: Mark Goodman

HALIFAX will play Co-operative Championship rivals Leigh twice in less than a fortnight after being paired with the Centurions in the fifth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.

The two sides meet at the Shay on Thursday night in a televised league fixture, with the sudden-death return bout likely to be scheduled for Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, April 29.

Fax hammered South Wales Scorpions at the weekend to book their place in the last 16, with Leigh thrashing Rochdale 68-18.

“I think it’s a good draw, for both clubs, and I think it’ll be a good game,” said Harrison, who will lock horns with his former Fax teammate Paul Rowley.

“When you get to the last 16 of the Challenge Cup you cannot expect an easy draw and I don’t think we’ve done too badly.

“It’s a team from our division, a team we know plenty about, and while it would have been nice to have been at home our form away from home has been okay so far this year.”

Two of the eight ties are all-Super League affairs, although the winner of the meeting between Fax and Leigh will be the only guaranteed non top flight club in the last eight.

Featherstone’s reward for knocking derby rivals Castleford out of the competition is a daunting home tie against Wigan, while the best chance of a potential upset will be at Batley, where the Bulldogs host struggling London Broncos.

Harrison, who saw his side comprehensively beaten 44-14 at Leigh in pre-season, was adamant that yesterday’s draw will have no effect on his plans for Thursday night’s showdown at the Shay.

“We’ve got our plans in place for this week,” he said.

“If they don’t work out for us, I guess we’ll have time to change them before the second game.”

On a more sober note, Harrison confirmed that the leg injury suffered by young forward Mark Goodman in last week’s under 23 fixture against Sheffield will keep the Oldham-based player sidelined for a considerable period of time.

“Mark’s had surgery and everyone involved with the club has their fingers crossed for him,” he said.

“It’s a bad, bad injury with the tibia and fibia both broken.

“We’ll know more as time goes on.”

Hull’s Tongan second-rower Willie Manu has kept his place in the Exiles squad for this summer’s international origin series against England.

Manu was originally left off the list announced by coach Daniel Anderson due to a clerical error at the Rugby Football League and has since received an apology for the omission.