Super League preview: Wakefield Trinity Wildcats v Widnes Vikings
Last Updated: 08/07/13 10:05pm
Wakefield Wildcats will be hoping to strengthen their play-off hopes with success over the Widnes Vikings at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium, live on Sky on Monday night.
The Wildcats are one of Super League's form teams following three straight victories, including an impressive 27-26 triumph over Hull FC at the KC Stadium last time out.
Widnes have no problems finding the try line as they proved last weekend in scoring 36 points against champions Leeds Rhinos at home, but conceding 52 at the other end meant Denis Betts' men finished empty-handed.
Wakefield head coach Richard Agar has made one change to his 19-man squad for the visit of the Vikings, with Chris Annakin coming in for the departed Kyle Wood.
Wood returned to the Huddersfield Giants this week, prompting a recall for the back rower who has not featured since the game against the Wigan Warriors back in June.
Wakefield were boosted in midweek by the news that captain Danny Kirmond has been given the all-clear by a specialist to play after a finger injury sustained against the Black and Whites threatened to curtail his season.
Wildcats utility man Paul Sykes is not taking Widnes for granted on Monday after Wakefield secured a slender 28-26 victory over the Vikings in April.
"They are a quality side," Sykes told the Yorkshire Evening Post. "When we played them at their place it was a really tight game.
"But if we dig in like we have been doing for the last few weeks and we brush up our attack a bit, I am sure we will come away with a win.
"We always try hard right to the final whistle, that's what we are all about. We are going to train hard this week and take that into next week's game."
The Vikings will look to their experience as they seek a victory from their trip east along the M62, with Kevin Brown and Gareth Hock set to play key roles. Brown bagged a hat-trick against Leeds while on-loan Hock scored twice.
Widnes boss Betts wants his troops to focus on securing the points away to Wakefield and not their impending Challenge Cup quarter-final clash against former club Wigan next weekend.
"If we put a good, solid performance in against Wakefield and give a good account of ourselves, that will put us in a positive frame of mind heading into the (Tetley's) Challenge Cup game with Wigan the following week," Betts told the club's official website. "It's going to be a physically demanding game away at Wakefield, that's for sure.
"They've got some really talented players; the likes of Paul Sykes, Danny Kirmond, Kyle Amor and the half-back Tim Smith, who was pulling the strings for them at times in their last match. But, having said that, they're a very strong side as a whole as every player gave their all in their win at Hull FC on Monday."
Wakefield Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Collis, L. Smith, Cockayne, Sykes, T. Smith, Poore, Aiton, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook, Amor, Wilkes, Mariano, Lyne, Wildie, Annakin.
Widnes Vikings: Ah Van, Allen, K. Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Craven, Gerrard, Gore, Hanbury, Hock, Isa, Joseph, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Marsh, O'Carroll, Owens, Phelps, Winterstein.
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Super League 2013, round 21
Wakefield will be without stand-off Paul Sykes for six weeks after he suffered a fractured fibula against Widnes.
Stevo hailed Wakefield's defence after the Wildcats beat Widnes to record a fourth win on the spin.
Wakefield have the Super League play-offs in their sights once more after brushing aside Widnes 24-14.
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