Wakefield Wildcats: ‘Underdog’ status not lost on Wildcats boss Webster

Ian Kirke.
Ian Kirke.
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WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS boss James Webster accepts it won’t be regarded as a huge shock if his Super League side lose to lower-division opposition tonight.

“Their coach has already come out and said it’s not a very daunting task, coming to play us,” Webster said of tonight’s home Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fifth round tie against Halifax.

“I can understand why he would say that.

“I think people will be maybe expecting them to knock us off, but we are focused on trying to make sure we are in the draw for the next round.”

Wildcats are on the back of a record-equalling 80-0 drubbing at Warrington Wolves last Saturday, which was their eighth successive defeat.

They are now three points adrift at the bottom of First Utility Super League.

But Webster insisted that his Wakefield team remain confident and “desperate” to reach the next stage of the competition.

“Nothing changes,” he stressed. “We want to win every game we can and this game has a lot of special significance, in that it is the Challenge Cup.

“When you win you get another chance, if you lose you have to wait another year for a chance to go to Wembley.

“We are desperate to win this week.”

The tie could be a rehearsal for later in the season, when Super League’s bottom four clubs go into a new seven-game competition with the leading quartet from the Kingstone Press Championship.

Halifax are fourth in the second tier and have won five of their nine games so far, including a 38-6 demolition of Workington Town five days ago.

“I know plenty about them,” Webster said. “I watched them play last Sunday and they’ve got a lot of people with Super League experience – like Tommy Saxton, Scott Murrell, Richard Moore and Luke Ambler.

“A few of them, Ben Kaye as well, have been at Leeds and their full-back from Warrington, James Saltonstall, is a good player. They have got a very good overseas player, Adam Tangata, who is playing very well in the front row, so they are a good team.

“But we are concentrating on our own performance. We have tried to prepare really well for Halifax, but we need to fix up some of our own errors first, both in attack and especially defence.

“We need to improve in a lot of areas, but I’m confident we can do that.”

George Griffin has returned to Salford Red Devils after completing his loan spell and will be replaced in the front row by Nick Scruton, who missed last week’s game due to suspension.

Ian Kirke is set to make his competitive debut after recovering from an injury suffered in the Boxing Day defeat to former club Leeds Rhinos and Jon Molloy could feature for the first time this year.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats from: Sammut, Riley, Hall, Arundel, Owen, Miller, T Smith, Simon, McShane, Scruton, Kirmond, Washbrook, D Smith, Lauitiiti, Godinet, Ryan, Trout, Kirke, Molloy.

Halifax from: Ambler, Bracek, Brown, Cahalane, Divorty, Heaton, Johnston, Kaye, Maneely, Manning, Moore, Murrell, Potts, Saltonstall, Saxton, Sherriffe, Spencer, Tangata, Taylor.

Referee: Joe Cobb.

Kick-off: Tonight, 7.30pm.