Super League preview: Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR
Leeds Rhinos forward Ryan Bailey could make his return in Friday's Super League home clash against Hull KR.
Last Updated: 16/08/13 12:19pm
Brian McDermott's champions go in search fifth successive league success following last Friday's 42-16 triumph over the Salford City Reds.
The Robins had been one of the form teams recently, but three straight defeats to the likes of Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors and Hull FC have halted their progress.
Leeds are just two points behind former leaders Wigan heading into Friday's clash while KR will be eager to maintain their four-point advantage over ninth-place Bradford Bulls.
Rhinos forward Ryan Bailey could make his return following a thumb injury although the game comes too soon for experienced duo Danny McGuire and Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
Brett Delaney, who signed a new five-year contract on Wednesday, is expected to be fit for the play-offs while centre Joel Moon (foot) is still two to three weeks from returning.
"I am expecting a lot of energy and enthusiasm from Hull KR on Friday night," explained McDermott. "They will have been disappointed to lose their derby game at home last week and they will see this match as a chance to bounce back from that.
"They are a good side who have picked up some big wins already this year and the chance to turn us over will be something they are looking at to kick-start their play-off push.
"I think in the last couple of years they have become a much more rounded side that doesn't rely so much on Michael Dobson coming up with a piece of brilliance to win them a game. Dobson is still very much their key man, and if he has a quiet game that impacts on them, but they have other attacking threats and I think Travis Burns has been a good addition to their squad."
Hull KR head coach Craig Sandercock will turn to youth for Friday trip west along the M62 to play the champions in their own back yard.
With full-back Greg Eden now ruled out for the rest of the season the Australian tactician had been forced to raid the club's Under-19 squad with only 15 players available.
Lincoln Withers is available after suspension, while Rhys Lovegrove will be given a fitness test on Thursday. Graeme Horne and Cory Paterson remain sidelined.
"There will be one or two youngsters in my squad on Friday," Sandercock told the Hull Daily Mail.
"At the moment I have 15 fit players so I'll sit down and think about who to bring in from the under-19s after watching their videos.
"It's a case of seeing how I can juggle my fit players and then what positions we need to fill. I'll see who the next in line is."
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Hall, Burrow, Leuluai, McShane, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Moore, Singleton, Sutcliffe, Foster, Minchella, Duckworth.
Hull KR: Salter, Netherton, Walker, Gleeson, Tuimavave, Cox, Mika, Burns, Carlile, Withers, Hall, Griffin, D. Hodgson, Lovegrove, Dobson, Caro, Green, Ollett, J. Hodgson.