Richard Agar says his Wakefield Trinity Wildcats side will have to adapt their game to excel on Widnes Vikings’ artificial pitch tonight (kick-off 8pm).
Wildcats return to Super League action at the Stobart Stadium and Agar admits he has taken the controversial surface into consideration when preparing for the Round 13 match.
“There’s no doubt it’s a different style of game, statistics point to it being that,” he said.
“That’s a challenge for us, it’s not an issue. We’ve highlighted the areas we feel we need to be good in and the areas we feel may change a little because of the surface.”
Wakefield won 32-14 in Cheshire on the opening day of last season but Vikings have lost just once on home soil so far this term.
“It tells you a bit of a story I think, it’s a different style of game,” Agar commented.
“They’ve found a way to play on it and their home form has been good. But is that telling you that, having played on it [the pitch] last year, opposition teams are going with a bit of an indifferent attitude towards it? We’re very mindful of that.”
Agar has billed the game as “really big and significant” for both sides in their attempts to kick-on and target a place in the Super League play-offs.
And he hopes his decision to rest ten first-team players for last weekend’s Challenge Cup triumph over Hemel Stags will pay off.
“Certainly a couple of blokes will have benefited enormously from it, such as Paul Aiton and Danny Washbrook,” he said.
“It’s enabled us to be really fresh at the start of the week for training as well.
“The other thing is that mentally it freshens them up as well. Not having to concentrate and prepare and get themselves up for a game. We were able to get a good week’s training in and get ready for this week.”
Richie Mathers (testicle and foot) is Wakefield’s only injury absentee, with Paul Sykes being given the all-clear from a suspected fractured skull to play.
Wildcats 19-man squad: Fox, Collis, L Smith, Cockayne, Sykes, T Smith, Poore, Aiton, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond (c), Washbrook, Wood, Amor, Wilkes, Mellars, Lyne, Annakin, Molloy.