WAKEFIELD TRINITY have plenty to play for when they visit on-song Wigan Warriors tonight (7.45pm), forward Matty Ashurst reckons.
Wigan are second in the table, six points behind leaders St Helens, who they beat 30-10 last Friday.
Wakefield are realistically out of contention for the semi-finals, but will climb to fifth in the Betfred Super-8s if they win this evening.
That – and the prospect of upsetting one of the competition’s big guns – ensures they will be highly motivated, according to Ashurst.
He said: “It is always a good occasion when you go to Wigan. Being a Wigan lad myself, I like playing there. We had a good win at home against them, but they are a tough team.
“It is always good to win against them. It is going to be a tough test, but we are trying to get some consistency. Hopefully, we can get some kind of form and get a roll on at the end of the season to carry into next year.”
If we can finish with some wins, it builds confidence going into next year. We are looking to do that and we want to win more games than we lose in this top-eight.Matty Ashurst
Ashurst stressed: “We finished fifth last year and just missed out on the top-four so we want to finish fifth again. We have got four games to make that happen.
“If we can finish with some wins, it builds confidence going into next year. We are looking to do that and we want to win more games than we lose in this top-eight.
“I don’t think we have done that yet so we want to go better than we did last year. Sometimes you’ve got to find that bit of motivation, with not being able to make the four, but we’ve got a good group and everyone puts in a good effort. You can never fault anyone’s effort.”
Trinity’s hopes of claiming fifth spot were kept alive when they won 42-16 at Huddersfield Giants six days ago, leaving them just two points adrift with a better for and against.
Trinity hit back from 12-0 down and Ashurst said: “We showed a bit of character to come back into it.
“We stuck in there, we stuck to the game-plan and managed to come away with a good win in the end.”
Ashurst has again been one of Trinity’s top performers this year and said he is pleased his own form.
“Hopefully, I’ve been consistent,” he said. “As long as I am helping the team, I am happy.”
Wakefield coach Chris Chester will select from last week’s 17, plus Justin Horo, who pulled out during the warm-up with a sternum problem, and Joe Arundel.
Dan Sarginson has made himself available for Wigan despite the death of his younger brother Adam last weekend.
Dom Manfredi could return after two years out of first-team action with a knee injury and Sam Tomkins is also in line for a recall.
Wigan Warriors: from Bateman, Clubb, Davies, Escare, Flower, Gildart, Greenwood, Hamlin, Isa, Leuluai, Manfredi, Navarrete, O’Loughlin, Partington, Powell, Sarginson, Sutton, Tomkins, Williams.
Wakefield Trinity: from Annakin, Arona, Arundel, Ashurst, Batchelor, Crowther, Grix, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, Huby, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Tupou, Wood.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).