Pilkington Recs coach Kurt Haggerty says he is enjoying combining a coaching and playing career ahead of his side’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup third round clash at North Wales Crusaders on Sunday March 16 (2.00pm).
In his playing capacity, the 25-year-old is currently on loan at Leigh Centurions from Barrow Raiders and splits his time between the Championship leaders and his local boyhood club.
His playing side are also in action in the third round as Leigh take on Wigan St Patrick’s tonight at Leigh Sports Village (7.30pm), with Haggerty due to join up with the Recs after playing for the Centurions.
“My role at Leigh is a part time one so that I can dedicate more of my time to Pilkington and so far the balance has been good,” said Haggerty.
“I have been involved with the club since I was sixteen years old. Playing for them during my youth gave me the boost I needed to make it as a Rugby League player for club and country.
“The lads at the club are fantastic and they take on everything that I have to say because, at the root of the situation, I count them all as friends which gives us a great team spirit.
“I think the fact that I have such a long association with the team means that respect goes both ways – everybody here wants to put in the best possible performance come Sunday.”
Despite the pressure of holding both roles, the second row is pleased with the positive start to the season for both of his teams.
“I am currently a Barrow Raiders player and Paul Rowley, the Leigh coach, gave me a call to say that he wanted someone with experience to come in at second row and do a good job. I have played every game on loan for Leigh so far and I am really enjoying my time at the club.
“In a perfect world it would have been amazing to draw Leigh because of the connection I have, but if we can pull off a shock and get past North Wales then Super League opposition are on the horizon.
“The financial gain for the club playing a big side would be phenomenal and it would be a game that for a lot of our players would be a career highlight.”
In the opposition dugout, North Wales Crusaders coach Clive Griffiths is keen to ensure that his players are focused in order to avoid being on receiving end of a cup upset.
"I know that they will be coming in to the game quietly confident. I will not be taking them lightly,” said Griffiths.
"They have got some really good lads who have all come through the ranks at academy level.
"It is 13 against 13 - that's the way I look at it. You can't take anything for granted otherwise it could come back to bite you.
"I know what they're like as a club and the philosophies that they have in place. They'll come here looking to give us a good game and they certainly won't roll over."
Tickets for the North Wales Crusaders v Pilkington Recs Tetley's Challenge Cup third round tie can be purchased for as little as £10 for adults, £7 for concessions and £3 for children.