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Super League: Warrington Wolves v Bradford Bulls match preview
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Warrington Wolves will aim to force their way up the Super League table when they visit basement club Bradford Bulls on Sunday afternoon.
The Round 11 clash will act as a dress rehearsal for the Challenge Cup quarter-final, which also takes place at Odsal in June.
Last year's Grand Finalists are currently languishing in eighth after a difficult start to the season, which has seen them win and lose in equal measure across their opening 10 fixtures.
Meanwhile the Bulls, who were deducted six points when they entered administration, are yet to return to the black as they prop up the table on minus two points with just two wins to their name.
Francis Cummins' side have lost their last seven Super League outings and their last five meetings with the Wolves.
In a bid to buck that trend Bradford will hand a debut to centre Joe Arundel following his arrival on loan from Hull and, with front-row forwards Manase Manuokafoa and Jamal Fakir ruled out through injury, youngster Sam Bates is set to make his home debut.
They have, though, bolstered their front-row options with the temporary signing of Antonio Kaufusi. The former Australia prop joined on Thursday from Huddersfield and has been placed straight into the Bulls' squad.
Arundel, meanwhile, is eager to make a flying start to his spell with Bradford and admits he is relishing the chance to feature at the top level after struggling with injury.
"I really came into some good form last season but then got injured, so I cannot wait to get back playing, hopefully, week in, week out," he told the club's official website.
"I am really desperate to get back to that level of form and show people what I am capable of.
"I can only do that by playing and, with a little luck, I will be granted plenty of opportunities here."
Forward Danny Bridge, who played in the first seven matches of the season for Bradford, is poised to make his first appearance of the season for Warrington.
Hooker Michael Monaghan and loose forward Ben Harrison return from injury, while Chris Bridge and Gareth O'Brien resumes duties at half-back in the absence of injured duo Stefan Ratchford and Richie Myler.
The Wolves prevailed in both meetings between the sides last term but head coach Tony Smith is weary of threat posed by the Bulls on home soil.
"Bradford are very good at playing there with their home advantage," he told the club's official website.
"They know how to use the slopes for the kicks and their awareness of the ground is a huge advantage for them."
Smith also dismissed speculation they have one eye on the Challenge Cup, saying: "We will be going over there to concentrate on Super League this week."
Bulls squad: Addy, Arundel, Bates, Diskin, Foster, Gale, Gaskell, George, Henry, Kaufusi, Kear, Kearney, Mellor, O'Brien, Olbison, Pitts, Purtell, Sidlow, Walker.
Wolves squad: Asotasi, Atkins, C. Bridge, D. Bridge, Currie, England, B. Evans, R. Evans, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Laithwaite, J. Monaghan, M. Monaghan, O'Brien, Penny, Riley, Russell, Waterhouse.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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