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Super League: Catalan Dragons v Wakefield Wildcats preview
Wakefield Wildcats will look to extend their unbeaten run under the tutelage of James Webster as they travel to Perpignan to face Catalan Dragons on Saturday.
Australian coach Webster replaced Richard Agar at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium last month and has immediately reaped the rewards of the seeds sown by his predecessor earlier in the season to remain unbeaten in five.
Since taking to the helm, Webster has overseen victories against London Broncos, reigning champions Wigan Warriors, rivals Leeds Rhinos and Widnes Vikings as well as claiming a draw against Hull FC.
It is a remarkable run that has seen the Wildcats wrestle their way into 10th, just two points shy of a Super League playoff berth with seven rounds of action remaining.
The Wildcats maintained their assault on the playoff places with a hard-fought 12-10 victory over Widnes last Thursday and victory over the seventh-placed Dragons could see them take another step closer to the knockout stages.
And with Super League safety guaranteed, Webster admits he is already eyeing development for coming seasons.
“The chairman told us at the start, before anyone had turned up for pre-season, that avoiding relegation was the only goal,” Webster, who was assistant to previous boss Agar, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“To stay up is a big achievement and to do it so early, the club has to be commended.
“Once you are safe you have got to start looking ahead pretty quickly and there’s a couple of young kids I’d like to see in first grade, if the right moment presents itself.”
Catalan will be looking to rediscover form having lost two of their last three outings, their most recent reverse a 37-16 thumping at the hands of Wigan last Saturday.
Following the defeat, Dragons head coach Laurent Frayssinous has made four rotations to his squad, two of which were enforced by suspension.
French internationals Vincent Duport and Gregory Mounis were both handed bans off the back of the loss to the Warriors; the former given a three-match suspension for a dangerous challenge on Josh Charnley and the latter set to miss two matches after a dangerous thrown on John Bateman.
Damien Cardace and Benjamin Garcia also miss out on Frayssinous’ 19-man squad as Lopini Paea, Mickael Simon, Thomas Bosc and Antoni Maria are called up.
Meanwhile, Wildcats coach Webster is boosted by the availability of club captain Danny Kirmond, who looks set to make his return after missing the last two outings with an ankle injury.
Kirmond has taken full part in training ahead of the trip to France and should feature, while Jarrod Sammut is also recalled having spent recent weeks on dual registration with Featherstone Rovers. Andy Raleigh and Chris Annakin are the men to miss out.
Catalan Dragons: Escare, Pryce, Pomeroy, Oldfield, Bosc, Elima, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Anderson, Maria, Pelissier, Whitehead, Millard, Simon, Bousquet, Paea, Baitieri, Williams
Wakefield Wildcats: Mathers, Lyne, Sykes, Anderson, McShane, Lauititi, Kirmond, Washbrook, Wildie, Ryan, Moore, Tautai, Keinhorst, Sammut, Scruton, Riley, Owen, Gilmour, Smith
Watch Catalan Dragons v Wakefield Wildcats live on Sky Sports 1HD from 5pm
Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||21||18|
|10||Salford Red Devils||22||17|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||21||2|
|Saturday 26th July|
|15:00||London Broncos vs Hull K R|
|Sunday 27th July|
|15:00||Bradford vs Wigan|
|15:00||Warrington vs Wakefield|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Catalan Dragons|
|Thursday 31st July|
|20:00||Wigan vs Salford|
|Friday 1st August|
|20:00||Hull vs St Helens|
|20:00||Catalan Dragons vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Bradford|
|Sunday 3rd August|
|15:00||Widnes vs Hull K R|
|15:00||Wakefield vs Huddersfield|
|Friday 25th July|
|Salford 18 - 22 Leeds|
|St Helens 44 - 22 Widnes|
|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|
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