Reds determined to end losing streak - Veivers
Salford City Reds coach Phil Veivers says his team are “desperate” to get back to winning ways against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium tomorrow.
The Reds were fifth in Stobart Super League, having put together a three-match winning run, but they have slipped out of the top eight after winning just one of their last six games.
The Carnegie Challenge Cup arguably represents Salford’s best chance of silverware this year but Veivers is adamant that his players will not have one eye on next week’s fifth-round tie with Leeds Rhinos.
“The most important game of the season is on Saturday,” he said. “We’ve spoken about that. It’s all about Wakefield.
“It’s going to be another tough game. We’re desperate for a win. They’ve lost their last three, we’ve lost our last three so we’re probably on a par.
“Both want to play some football and both need to improve their defensive efforts.”
Wakefield, who conceded the double to the Reds in 2011, have won just once since their opening-day victory at Widnes Vikings and have only the league left to play for following their Cup exit at Leeds last Friday.
Former Hull KR forward Frankie Mariano comes in for the injured Lucas Walshaw in the only change for the Wildcats, with captain Steve Southern and ex-Leeds second rower Ali Lauitiiti still on the sidelines.
Veivers recalls all four senior players he rested for their Cup win at Whitehaven, including full-back Luke Patten, who this week announced his decision to retire at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old Australian had another year left on his contract but says he did not think he was physically up for it, much to the disappointment of Veivers.
“Credit to him for coming to us early,” said Veivers. “We can now look at our options.
“He feels his body can’t recover quickly enough after games and there’s only one person who can tell you that.”
The former Canterbury Bulldogs favourite had a quiet first season in Super League but has caught the eye this year in an attack re-structured by assistant coach Sean Long and is currently the club’s leading tryscorer.
“We changed our play a bit this year,” said Veivers. “We structured our attack differently and Luke plays a massive part in that.
“Overall he creates things for our outside backs and he’s scored some tries. He’s been going alright with the ball in hand.”
Stand-off Daniel Holdsworth and forwards Stephen Wild and Shannon McPherson also return, along with winger Jodie Broughton, which leaves only second rower Vinnie Anderson on the injury list.
“It makes selection complicated but it’s a nice headache to have,” said Veivers.