Bulls out for revenge
The prospect of revenge will provide an extra spur for Bradford Bulls as they look to build on their valiant Carnegie Challenge Cup efforts against Wigan Warriors when Salford City Reds visit Odsal tomorrow.
The Bulls have taken just a point from their last six Engage Super League matches and are still smarting from a humiliating 56-16 defeat by the Reds at the Willows in April.
“It’s a motivating factor because we were embarrassed when we went there,” said Bradford coach Mick Potter.
“We conceded 50 points and that’s not a good feeling for any professional and I would assume they won’t want that feeling again this week.”
The round-10 match was the Reds’ first under caretaker boss Phil Veivers but they have won just one league game since then and will slide into the bottom four if they fail to complete the double over Bradford.
“We played very well when we last played the Bulls but since then we’ve had a couple of dips in form,” said Veivers.
“We just need to get some confidence back by picking up a win and hopefully we can start this weekend.”
The Bulls made a mockery of their League form in pushing Wigan all the way in last Sunday’s cup tie before going down 26-22 and Veivers, formerly assistant to Brian Noble at Odsal, knows the Yorkshiremen have the potential to climb the table.
“Bradford played with a lot of passion against Wigan with 12 men last week,” he said.
“They are at home and they are a very tough side in the bowl at Odsal.
“But we have prepared pretty good and the players are aware of the importance of this game.”
Hull FC’s improved form will be put to the test when Huddersfield Giants visit the KC Stadium for tomorrow’s lunchtime televised match.
Richard Agar’s men have climbed into the top eight after taking seven points from their last four matches but the Giants are still on a high following their emphatic win over St Helens.
Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown, who this week ended speculation over his future by signing a new contract, was less impressed by their performance in the cup against Catalan Dragons and is hoping for an improvement tomorrow.
“There were some good parts to our performance against Catalan but we have a few parts of our game that don’t seem to be improving as we would like them to,” he said.
“We would like to keep improving and take some steps forward, particularly in parts of our defence where I think we are letting ourselves down with a bit of inconsistency.”
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach John Kear is hoping his side avoid a Challenge Cup hangover when they take on Catalan Dragons tomorrow with a chance to complete the double over the Frenchmen.
The Wildcats, who won in Perpignan in February, suffered a heart-breaking extra-time loss to arch rivals Castleford Tigers last Saturday and Kear admits it left its mark on his team.
“The players were pretty down on Monday and Tuesday,” he said.
“The only time we will know whether we have got over it will be when we play on Sunday.”
Hooker Julien Rinaldi is denied the chance to face his old club after succumbing to a shoulder problem and the game has come too soon for new signing Jarrad Hickey, who only arrived from Australia on Thursday.
The Catalans have full-back Clint Greenshields making a timely return from two month absence with a dislocated elbow in place of his deputy Cyril Stacul, who broke an ankle in the cup defeat at Huddersfield.
Castleford prop forward Jonathan Walker is set to make his comeback from a 12 match absence with a knee injury against Harlequins RL, who will give a debut to winger or full-back Chris Riley as he starts a month’s loan from Warrington Wolves.
Wigan expect full-back Sam Tomkins to be fit to face Hull KR at the DW Stadium on Monday evening despite being knocked out during his side’s cup win at Bradford.