Head coach Richard Agar says his Wakefield Trinity Wildcats men cannot afford any slip-ups against London Broncos on Sunday (kick-off 3.30pm).
Wildcats beat Salford City Reds in what Agar described as a ‘must win’ game last time out and the ’Cats coach is looking for more of the same in similar circumstances at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium this weekend as Wakefield continue their chase for a top-eight spot.
“It probably falls into the same bracket as what the Salford game did for us,” said Agar.
“We thought that was a must win and this probably falls into that same one again, it’s one that, from our point of view, we can’t afford to let slip.
“It’s an important game for us and the boys are really looking forward to it. They’re not looking at us being off the pace and out of it, they’re looking at what we can achieve going forward.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to get back-to-back wins and try and build some more momentum.”
Agar was delighted to see his side end a run of defeats at Salford last time out to maintain a Super League play-off push, and will no doubt be happy with another clinical showing this weekend.
“I thought from a performance point of view it was as well as we’ve played,” he said.
“We take into account we weren’t playing a strong Salford side at that moment in time but all round overall we did a lot of things good and going into the break on the back of that performance makes our jobs and our lives a lot easier.”
Wakefield trail the Super League play-off spots by four points but having played a game less than their rivals.
Agar’s men will be favourites to bag two points on Sunday and enjoyed a 28-0 win in the reverse fixture.
But the Wakefield boss is wary that Broncos, with players such as Luke Dorn and Dan Sarginson, can pose a threat.
“We watched the Castleford game where they [London] were leading and leading quite healthily until the last ten minutes so there’s no doubt they’ve got a performance in them,” he said.
“There’s no doubt they’ve got players that on any given day and in the right mood can catch you and cause you problems.
“Luke Dorn is still a player that, given space and the right situation, can pick up on anybody that is prepared to not be as honest as they need to be in the defensive line. Whether that comes from loose passes, chasing kicks down, people not tying in on defence. They have got some players like Luke, and like Dan Sarginson, that can take advantage of a lack of honesty in your defence.”
Hooker Paul Aiton will be missing for Wakefield as he serves a one-match ban but Wildcats will be boosted by the return of prop Andy Raleigh from injury.
Matty Wildie is expected to step-in to replace Aiton after impressing in the last home match against Wigan Warriors and Agar says he is only too pleased to give the hooker another opportunity.
“I‘m pleased for Matty because he’s had to wait an awful long time for a chance,” he said.
“He’s a guy that right from the off impressed us, he’s a super clubman and a great guy to have around the place and last year with Paul Aiton, Woody backed him up and Andy Ellis came in and did such a great job for us at the end of the year. Matty had to be really patient and now he’s earned himself an opportunity, he played really well against Wigan and he’s going to get another chance to start this week with Pauly being suspended.”
The club will also celebrate its 140th anniversary with a bumper crowd for the match.
Tickets have been reduced to £5 for adults and free for under-16s if bought before 5pm on Saturday and will still only be £10 for adults and £5 for concessions on the turnstiles.
There will be a ‘Family Fun Day’, with fun and games as well as a procession of past players on the Rapid Solicitors Stadium pitch.
Wildcats’ 19-man squad: Mathers, Fox, Collis, L Smith, Cockayne, Sykes, T Smith, Poore, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook, Wood, Amor, Wilkes, Mariano, Lyne, Wildie, Walshaw.
Broncos’ 19-man squad: Bishay, Bryant, Caton Brown, Channing, Colbon, Kixon, Dollapi, Dorn, Fairbank, Fisher, Grady, Hurst, Krasniqi, Little, Melling, Robertson, Sarginson, Wheeldon, Wicks.