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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
|8||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|11||Hull K R||2||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Friday 27th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Castleford Tigers|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:00||Catalans Dragons vs Warrington Wolves|
|19:30||Salford Red Devils vs Hull FC|
|Sunday 1st March|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Wigan Warriors|
|15:00||Widnes Vikings vs Wakefield Wildcats|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
|Wigan 24 - 16 Huddersfield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|Salford 6 - 52 St Helens|
|Sunday 8th February|
|Castleford 22 - 24 Wakefield|
|Huddersfield 0 - 19 Hull|
|Hull K R 30 - 40 Leeds|
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