Updated: Thursday, 19th April 2018 @ 7:17am

Salford City Reds look to stampede past Leeds Rhinos on the road to Wembley

Salford City Reds look to stampede past Leeds Rhinos on the road to Wembley

By Ben Burrows

Salford City Reds face Leeds Rhinos in Round Five of this year’s Challenge Cup on Sunday.

The Reds face a tough task as they host the 2011 runners-up after a poor recent run of form in the league.

Salford were on the wrong end of a narrow defeat to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats last time out although in truth the score line could have been much wider.

That defeat was the Reds fourth on the spin and other than victories over crisis club Bradford Bulls and lower-league Whitehaven in Round Four, they have lost six of their last eight.

Reds head coach Phil Veivers is disappointed with his sides recent run and emphasised the need to bounce back this week.

“We could and should have won two of these games,” he said.

“We just didn't turn up at Wakefield and only started playing in the second-half. It was 12-6 but we conceded two soft tries - things could have been far different had we not done so.

“We have chatted at length this week as a group about what is needed to get back on track to win ball games.”

Veivers will be without the services of versatile forward Shannan McPherson on Sunday after the Australian aggravated a knee ligament injury in last weekend’s defeat.

McPherson could now be missing for as many as three weeks and joins fellow forward Vinnie Anderson on the treatment table.

The New Zealander is himself sidelined for six weeks with a slight elbow fracture.

In contrast the Rhinos are having a very successful season and have already despatched the Reds earlier in the campaign running out convincing 56-16 winners at Headingley.

The Rhinos have won seven games already this season and look to be taking shape to be the perennial playoff contenders they have been throughout the Super League era.

The Yorkshiremen had a relatively comfortable passage into this round of the cup after beating Wakefield a fortnight ago.

The Rhinos are blessed with an array of attacking talent and Veivers knows the Reds will have to be on the top of their game to contain the visitors.

“We will certainly need to be at our best against Leeds,” he said. “They have so much quality in depth and are always dangerous opponents.”

Talismanic loose forward Kevin Sinfield will be Rhinos’ key man with his outstanding kicking game and all round rugby league nous making him a constant threat.

Centres Kallum Watkins and Zak Hardaker have been in scintillating try scoring form so far in 2012 and wings Ben Jones-Bishop and Ryan Hall are equally dangerous when given space to operate.

As well as the odds, Reds will also have to overturn the recent form guide if they are to progress on Sunday – they have not beaten the Rhinos in their last three league meetings.

Tickets for the clash are still available – log on to reds.co.uk, visit the Stadium Booking Office or alternatively call 0800 888 0200.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.