WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats boss Richard Agar might be chasing his fourth straight Super League win at Headingley on Monday but he knows he faces a wounded animal in Leeds Rhinos.
With only one win in their last five outings, reigning champions Leeds have slipped out of the top eight while Agar’s men are enjoying a rich vein of form in Stobart Super League XVII.
He said: “As you would expect, there has been a fair amount of buoyancy [in the Wakefield squad] after getting the [Hull FC] win at the weekend.
“They have been very intense, in good spirits and in a good frame of mind so it’s been a good week of preparations.”
He added: “Some people are saying that it’s a great time to catch Leeds but I’m not sure about that.
“Last year [Rhinos] got to Wembley and won the Grand Final so I think it’s a natural reaction when teams are under-performing.
“It’s probably very unfamiliar territory for Leeds who, up until last year, had spent very little time outside the top-three for a number of seasons.
“For them to be out of the play-offs at this stage is probably a bit concerning for them but there is a lot of football to play.”
However, Agar’s focus is on his own team. He said: “We are concentrating on ourselves. We are in a decent run of form over the last four or five weeks and we want to continue that and give ourselves a chance of pulling off a win.
“Team spirit has been very good, confidence has taken little dents here and there but generally our preparation, the way we have trained, the commitment from the boys and discipline has been very good.
“Sometimes we have just come up against teams that have probably had more talent than us and the gulf in that has showed at times.
“But very few times this year can we be accused of not giving it our best shot or lacking spirit and commitment.”
Further tests on Danny Kirmond have revealed that he sustained a fractured cheekbone and eye socket in the win over London a fortnight ago and he will be side-lined for up to three weeks.
After the thrilling win over Hull FC last weekend, Kirmond’s absence is set to be the only change to Agar’s 19-man squad for the trip to Leeds.
Read this week’s Wakefield Express for more news from the Wakefield Wildcats.