Agar ready for Rhinos double-header
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach Richard Agar is hoping his side can strike the first blow in a "mini-series" with Super League champions Leeds Rhinos as they seek to maintain their play-off charge.
The Wildcats, who won their last seven matches of last season to sneak into the top eight, are threatening to repeat the feat after winning their last four matches to move to within a point of eighth-placed Hull FC with a game in hand.
That game is at home to Leeds next Friday, which means Wakefield's back-to-back clashes with the champions, starting at Headingley tonight, could determine their fate.
"We've spoken about that," Agar said. "We can almost treat it as it's own little mini-series.
"We've had a lot of matches against Leeds over the last two seasons so we are familiar with how they play and what we think is required against them."
Leeds coach Brian McDermott, whose side ended the Wildcats' Grand-Final attempt at the first hurdle last September, agrees he has not had to do much homework in the build up to tonight's derby.
"I think we've both worked each other out," he said. "We're quite familiar with each other."
Wakefield are without stand-off Paul Sykes, who is almost certain to miss the rest of the season with a broken leg, while Leeds are expected to make a late call on skipper Kevin Sinfield, who has been out for five weeks with a dislocated thumb.
Teenager Liam Sutcliffe has slotted comfortably into Sinfield's shoes and Agar also believes other players have stepped up in his absence.
"Whether Kevin plays or not, they have got top-quality replacements," Agar said.
"Paul McShane is a cracking player, Rob Burrow has played international football at half-back and young Sutcliffe has probably been the find of the season for them.
"I would say they've arguably the most talented and deepest squad in the game."