THE SIDES made contrasting starts in Betfred Super League, but Wakefield Trinity boss Chris Chester is under no illusions about how tough tonight’s visit of Salford Red Devils will be.
Trinity dashed out of the blocks with a 28-6 win at promoted Hull KR seven days ago, at the same time as Salford were being crushed 40-12 by visitors Wigan Warriors.
A second successive win would prove Trinity mean business this year, but Chester insisted they can’t expect to roll over tonight’s rivals, despite three victories against Salford last season.
Salford are many pundits’ tip to drop into the middle-eights Qualifiers following the departure of previous owner Marwan Koukash, but Chester has been impressed by coach Ian Watson and reckons the Red Devils have enough quality players to cause any team problems.
“They are dangerous,” Chester warned. “We have had some close games against them.
“Last year they should probably have won the game at home and we got beaten at their place in the Challenge Cup. They are a good footballing side and they like to throw the ball about.
“They have got a big pack and we are expecting a very, very tough game.
“But there are no easy games; we had a tough game last week and we are expecting exactly the same.”
Chester will select his side for tonight from the players on duty at Hull KR, plus experienced prop Craig Huby, who is in contention for the first time this year, and pacy former Salford outside-back Mason Caton-Brown.
Hooker Tyler Randell remains on Trinity’s casualty list, though he is recovering well from the knee injury he suffered on Boxing Day.
Huby’s return will be a bonus for Wakefield, and Chester said: “He was struggling all last year and he ended up having three microfractures in his knee.
“It wasn’t great, but he wanted to finish off the season.
“We always knew it would be a three-month recovery and we’ve not put any pressure on him.
“We’ve told him to come back when he feels ready.
“He is fully training now, he has been doing a lot of contact work and he is in my thoughts for this week.”
Kyle Wood is expected to continue in the side despite struggling with a back problem.
“That’s why we had Ryan Hampshire on the bench last week,” Chester confirmed.
“Woody has been struggling with some neural pain in his back, but we managed to get 60 minutes out of him.”
Meanwhile, second-rower Matty Ashurst says Trinity are going into tonight’s showdown with his former club in good shape after last week’s win over the Robins, but reckons they will need to play better to get the two points.
“We were a bit scratchy at times and we put a lot of ball down, but we managed to back it up with our D [defence], which is a big positive,” he said of last Friday’s success.
“Salford have got a big forward pack and it will be tough in the middle, especially at this time of year.
“That’s where games are won. We will be trying to improve our completions, we have got plenty to improve on and we will be looking to do that.”
Ex-Wakefield winger Greg Johnson drops out of Salford’s squad. Fijian prop Ben Nakubuwai and Darrell Olpherts – a centre signed from Newcastle Thunder – could make their debut and Logan Tomkins is also in contention.
Wakefield Trinity: from Arona, Ashurst, Caton-Brown, England, Fifita, Finn, Grix, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, Huby, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Kirmond, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Tupou, K Wood.
Salford Red Devils: from O’Brien, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Jones, Hauraki, Tasi, Burgess, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, J Wood, Olpherts, Mossop, Bibby.
Referee: James Child (Batley).
Kick-off: Tonight, 7.35pm.