Salford City Reds will be looking to bounce back from defeat this weekend against 2011 Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos.
Reds suffered a heavy defeat away in France last weekend against Catalan Dragons and will certainly have to improve their performance this week against the in-form Rhinos.
They are fresh off an impressive victory over high-flying Warrington and will provide a stern test of Salford’s playoff credentials on Friday night.
Reds currently find themselves in an encouraging 7th place after a run of 3 wins in their opening 6 matches.
Head Coach Phil Veivers will have to do without the services of centre Joel Moon this weekend. The Australian has taken a knock to the hand he recently broke and will miss Friday’s matchup.
However, Veivers will be boosted by the return of experienced forward Vinnie Anderson and will also have ex-Rhinos Ashley Gibson and Danny Williams back in his matchday squad.
Leeds are in fine form picking up this season where they left off last. Their triumph over St. Helens in October’s Grand Final was the culmination of a stunning playoff run after finishing 5th in the regular season.
Rhinos come off the back of four straight wins in all competitions, the first of which was their World Club Challenge victory over NRL Champions Manly Sea Eagles in February.
Reds will have to be wary of a number of threats on Friday evening with playmakers Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire expected to be key dangers for Phil Veivers’ men.
The early season form of winger Ryan Hall has been terrific and the Reds’ leaky edge defence will have to be on guard to stop the England international from adding to his already burgeoning try tally.
Loose forward-turned-standoff Kevin Sinfield will be one to watch on Friday as he hopes to create Rhinos history. Skipper Sinfield, a points-scorer in the last 47 games for Leeds, is chasing the all-time club record of 2,920 points set by club legend Lewis Jones and sits 15 points shy ahead of the trip to the Salford City Stadium.
“Kevin is the complete professional,” said Leeds coach Brian McDermott. “He does whatever the medical staff ask of him to make sure he is right for the weekend.
“He will be ok for Friday because he looks after his body so well.”
One player the Reds won’t have to worry about is Ryan Bailey. The much-maligned prop has been banned for three matches after being deemed to have made deliberate contact with the referee in last weekend’s 26-18 win over Warrington.
Reds will be hoping for a big attendance on Friday as they welcome the Rhinos to Barton Bridge.
They will be looking to overturn a wretched recent run against the Yorkshiremen – they are winless in their last five matches against the Rhinos.
For tickets visit the Stadium Booking Office or call 0844 888 0200.