“Everyone’s here, so we’ll have pretty much a full squad training over the close season. Matt and Ross had been playing pretty much for 18 months non-stop, so they both needed a bit of a break and Matt has had an operation on his left shoulder.”
Foster accepts that Karl Brown’s availability will be limited by his Lancashire commitments and that Reece will probably be rather less free to play club cricket following his move to Derbyshire.
Nevertheless, the Leigh skipper is in quietly confident mood and hopes that his predominantly young squad are in the mood to mount a cup challenge worthy of a club who has appeared in four Ray Digman finals this century, winning one of them.
“Retaining a title is difficult in a lot of sports but we are happy with the squad we’ve got,” he said. “I’d expect the teams around us to come back strong and we have New Brighton, Bootle and Formby as our first three games. So the challenge for us is to maintain our standards.
“We’re certainly a little disappointed we didn’t go on a couple of good cup runs last season. Teams like Ormskirk, Bootle and Northern play two games a weekend for pretty much the whole season and I’d love us to be challenging in the knockouts as well.
“Maybe it was a blessing last year in that we got knocked out of the cups but historically we have done well in them and we are a good young team with no one over 25.
“That said, we are under no illusions that Luis will play for us as frequently last year. We might get five to ten games out of him but I just hope that he gets a good chance at Derbyshire because he certainly deserves it. It’s great to have people like him and Karl around but we want them to be doing well for their counties. It’s just a bonus when they play for us.”