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Super League: Warrington Wolves v Bradford Bulls preview
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Warrington Wolves will look to take another step up the Super League ladder when they host relegation candidates Bradford Bulls at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday.
Six successive league triumphs have seen the Wolves move up to sixth in the standings, while the Bulls will be out to avenge their Challenge Cup quarter-final exit earlier in the month.
Tony Smith’s side moved into the last four of the knockout competition after beating the beleaguered Bulls 46-10 at Odsal as their nightmare season continued to unravel before them.
With the Bulls 13th in the Super League table, and only two points ahead of bottom side London Broncos, coach Francis Cummins was relieved of his duties and replaced by James Lowes following last weekend’s defeat to Hull KR.
The 44-18 reverse at Odsal was a fifth defeat in six for the Bulls, who have just two points to their name having been deducted six points for entering administration, though their fight to regain those points rumbles on.
On the field, victory for the Broncos against Widnes on Saturday would not be enough to demote the Bulls to the foot-of-the-table courtesy of their superior points difference; while Warrington could move as high as fourth win a win at the Halliwell Jones on Sunday.
Despite being sent crashing out of the cup by the Wolves, Lowes will hope the Bulls can draw heart from their 34-28 league victory over Wire in the return league fixture last month.
Ahead of the visit of the Bulls, Wolves coach Smith has named three changes to the side which beat Salford Red Devils 36-20 last time out.
Ben Evans, Joe Philbin and Tom Walker all drop out of the match-day 19 as Anthony England, Chris Hill and Gareth O’Brien are brought back into the squad.
“Bradford need to prove to their coach that they deserve their place in the squad so they'll go out trying to show him, and themselves, what they can do regardless of where they are in the league,” warned Wolves winger Gene Ormsby.
"Every Super League team is a Super League team and you need to treat them with respect. They have players in their squad who can do a job on us which they proved earlier in the year so it's about mutual respect."
In his first squad selection, Lowes has made just one change to the side chosen by Cummins for his final game in charge.
Centre Adam Henry has been recalled to take the place of back-rower Alex Mellor, while Brett Kearney is line for a return from injury after being ruled out just before kick off last weekend.
“It has been very frustrating, being out for such a long time in what has been a tough period for the club,” Kearney told the club’s official website.
“I had the cast removed at the start of last week and the hand is feeling pretty good.
“We have to go to Warrington on Sunday, put in the performance we know we are capable of and attempt to get the points.”
Warrington Wolves: Asotasi, Atkins, C. Bridge, Currie, Dwyer, England, R. Evans, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hill, King, J. Monaghan, O'Brien, Ormsby, Ratchford, Riley, Russell, Westwood
Bradford Bulls: Blythe, Pitts, Olbison, Purtell, Gale, Kear, Donaldson, O'Brien, George, Henry, Diskin, Baldwinson, Kearney, Walker, Addy, Gaskell, Sidlow, Manuokafoa, Fakir
Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||21||18|
|10||Salford Red Devils||21||17|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||21||2|
|Friday 25th July|
|20:00||Salford vs Leeds|
|20:00||St Helens vs Widnes|
|Saturday 26th July|
|15:00||London Broncos vs Hull K R|
|Sunday 27th July|
|15:00||Bradford vs Wigan|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Catalan Dragons|
|15:00||Warrington vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 31st July|
|20:00||Wigan vs Salford|
|Friday 1st August|
|20:00||Hull vs St Helens|
|20:00||Leeds vs Bradford|
|20:00||Catalan Dragons vs Warrington|
|Thursday 24th July|
|Hull 18 - 18 Castleford|
|Sunday 20th July|
|Hull K R 18 - 38 Salford|
|Huddersfield 52 - 26 Bradford|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Catalan Dragons 40 - 6 Wakefield|
|London Broncos 16 - 58 St Helens|
|Friday 18th July|
|Wigan 56 - 10 Hull|
|Widnes 28 - 14 Warrington|
|Thursday 17th July|
|Leeds 24 - 24 Castleford|
|Sunday 13th July|
|Warrington 72 - 12 London Broncos|
|Saturday 12th July|
|Catalan Dragons 16 - 37 Wigan|
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