Reds coach change adds to uncertainty for Wakefield Wildcats

Wakefield's Andy Raleigh on the attack.
Wakefield's Andy Raleigh on the attack.
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COACHES like to be prepared, but Wakefield Trinity Wildcats boss Richard Agar admits he doesn’t know what to expect from visitors Salford City Reds tomorrow.

Salford are bottom of Super League with just one win from five matches and have scored only 62 points, with 196 conceded.

But Wakefield-born Alan Hunte will be in charge tomorrow, assisted by Sean Long, following coach Phil Veivers’ sacking five days ago and that could make them a different proposition.

Agar has sympathy for Veivers, who stuck with Salford when a financial crisis pushed the club to the brink, but who was then dismissed by the new regime.

“When any team changes coach you usually see a reaction or a spurt in form,” Agar said. “The players feel a bit guilty about what’s gone on.

“But I am not sure in this case. I am not too sure what more was expected of Phil. I think there was a statement from the club about results speaking for themselves, but I think they are kidding a bit.

“If the new management want to change the coach that’s their prerogative. Everyone understands that if they want their own man in they will do that and if they are buying the club and paying the money, they are more than entitled to do that.

“It is hard on the coach who loses his job. In the middle of January I don’t know if Phil knew whether he had a team or if they were starting the season.

“This is a tough competition to come into with so much uncertainty and so little resource at your disposal.

“I don’t think there’s a coach in the game who won’t feel a bit put out for Phil and maybe his players feel like that as well.

“I do know that they have a very smart operator in Sean Long and as a rugby league tactician and technician he is very good.

“He will have them prepared and he’ll make sure he has all bases covered. I am expecting them to come well prepared and they have shown some signs of promise, so we’re expecting a tough game.”

Wildcats are aiming for a first win in three matches.

Agar added: “We’ve had two tough games and come out marginally on the wrong side in the last few minutes.

“We need to make sure emotionally that we show the right response and that we can back up the tough way that we’ve played in the last two weeks. If we do that, we will be okay.”

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: from Mathers, Fox, Collis, L Smith, Cockayne, Sykes, T Smith, Poore, Aiton, Amor, Lauitiiti, Mariano, Washbrook, Wood, Wilkes, Trout, Annakin, Lyne, Mellars.

Salford City Reds: from Ashurst, Boyle, Broughton, Dixon, Evalds, Fages, Foran, Gibson, Gleeson, Godwin, Griffin, James, Jewitt, Mauro, McPherson, Murphy, Neal, Owen, Sneyd.

Referee: Thierry Alibert (Toulouse).

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3.30pm.

Wakefield Trinity v Widnes: Free entry offer after match abandoned due to snow