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Super League match preview: Salford City Reds v Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
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Wakefield will have the experienced trio of Tim Smith, Paul Sykes and Ali Lauitiiti back in their ranks as they bid to end a four-game losing streak at Salford on Monday night, live on Sky Sports 1HD.
Scrum-half Smith and second rower Lauitiiti both sat out last week's defeat by Wigan, while goalkicking stand-off Sykes has been missing for six weeks with a knee injury.
Second rower Frankie Mariano is also in contention for Wakefield following his return from a loan spell with Featherstone, who have taken centre or second rower Vince Mellars in return.
Wildcats head coach Richard Agar is hoping the returnees will help lift his side out of their slump.
"We are talking about some players that have been pivotal to what we've achieved over the last 18 months," said Agar, who guided the Wildcats into the top eight with a late-season flourish in 2012.
"We've put ourselves in a position where this game becomes a very vital one.
"At the moment, it's the most important game we've had this season and we're very much treating it that way. We've a desperate bunch of players.
"The longer turnaround certainly gives us no excuses with our preparation. I'd like to think we're fully energised."
Salford, who are just a point ahead of bottom club London Broncos, are boosted by the return of Australian prop Shannon McPherson, who has been out since March with a knee injury.
The Reds also expect to have former Leeds front rower Darrell Griffin back after he missed last week's defeat at Warrington and Agar believes they have become a genuine threat since the arrival of coach Brian Noble.
"Watching Salford over the last five or six weeks, I've seen some improvement," Agar added. "Their line is a lot straighter, defensively they look organised and they are carrying the ball hard.
"I suppose they lack the strike of some teams in the top half of the table but I think they've turned themselves into a very honest side that looks quite determined to finish off the season as strong as they can.
"Their home form has been okay, we feel it's going to be a tough game."
Salford squad: Broughton, Gibson, Gleeson, Gaskell, Foran, Ashurst, Dixon, Wild, Godwin, Mauro, James, D Williams, Fages, Sneyd, McGoldrick, McPherson, Griffin, A Walne, Emmitt.
Wakefield squad: Mathers, Fox, Collis, L Smith, Cockayne, Sykes, T Smith, Poore, Aiton, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook, Wood, Amor, Wilkes, Mariano, Lyne, Wildie, Walshaw.
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First Utility Super League Table
|4||Salford Red Devils||7||7|
|11||Hull K R||6||4|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 26th March|
|20:00||Salford Red Devils vs Widnes Vikings|
|Friday 27th March|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Hull FC|
|20:00||Wigan Warriors vs Wakefield Wildcats|
|20:00||Hull K R vs St Helens|
|20:00||Warrington Wolves vs Huddersfield Giants|
|Saturday 28th March|
|17:00||Catalans Dragons vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Thursday 2nd April|
|20:00||Hull vs Hull K R|
|20:00||Wakefield vs Catalans Dragons|
|20:00||Widnes vs Warrington|
|Friday 3rd April|
|12:45||Castleford vs Leeds|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|Widnes Vikings 20 - 16 Hull K R|
|Wakefield Wildcats 14 - 44 Huddersfield Giants|
|Friday 20th March|
|Leeds Rhinos 26 - 14 Wigan Warriors|
|Castleford Tigers 30 - 16 Salford Red Devils|
|Hull FC 33 - 22 Catalans Dragons|
|Thursday 19th March|
|St Helens 32 - 24 Warrington Wolves|
|Sunday 15th March|
|Hull K R 50 - 20 Catalans Dragons|
|Salford Red Devils 24 - 18 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Friday 13th March|
|Widnes Vikings 20 - 30 St Helens|
|Wigan Warriors 13 - 12 Hull FC|
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