Super League: Bradford Bulls v Wakefield Wildcats preview
By Jonathan Doidge. Last Updated: 30/05/14 8:29pm
Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins has been boosted by the return of five experienced players ahead of Sunday's vital relegation clash with Wakefield.
A win for the Bulls would give them much-needed impetus going into the second-half of the First:Utility Super League campaign and to that end, Cummins is delighted to be able to recall skipper Matt Diskin, second-row Dale Ferguson, centre Matty Blythe and front-rowers Jamal Fakir and Chev Walker.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the visit of the Wildcats, the Bradford coach admitted: "We are excited about it. I've said it before and I will repeat, the result of this fixture is not going to determine where we finish in the league, but will contribute to it. We have got to focus on playing this one game just like we do every week."
The return of the five seasoned pros means that there are no places for Nathan Conroy, Alex Mellor, Jordan Baldwinson, Adam O'Brien or Joe Arundel, who were all in the squad when the Bulls were hammered 46-4 against the Dragons last week.
After notable home wins against Catalan in the Challenge Cup and then Warrington a week later in Super League, Bradford have conceded an average of 50-points in each of their last three games.
The Bulls can draw some confidence from their performance against Sunday's opponents away from home back in March, when Adrian Purtell was among the tryscorers and a late Luke Gale drop goal helped seal a 23-10 win.
Added to that, the Wildcats have not won at The Provident Stadium in seven attempts, their last success there being in September 2006.
Wakefield coach Richard Agar has recalled Chris Riley after the winger had to sit out the defeat to his parent club Warrington last week under a gentleman's agreement, while Daniel Smith is also back in the fold after playing for Featherstone under the dual registration system last week.
Along with Lee Gilmour, who joined the club in midweek on loan from Castleford for a month, the trio replace Max Jowitt and Chris Annakin (both suspended) and Jacob Fairbank (broken ankle).
Considering they have longer-term absentees of the calibre of Dean Collis, Taulima Tautai and Ali Lauiti'iti, Wakefield's task will not be easy. They currently stand eight points ahead of the Bulls, but the astute Cummins looks to have called it right in that this result will not decide the fate of Bradford.
With the verdict due next week on the home team's appeal against their six-point deduction for going into administration earlier in the year, their biggest battle for survival may again be off, and not on, the field of play.
Bradford Bulls: Addy, Blythe, Diskin, Donaldson, Fakir, Ferguson, Foster, Gale, Gaskell, George, Henry, Kaufusi, Kear, Manuokafoa, Olbison, Pitts, Purtell, Sidlow, Walker.
Wakefield Wildcats: Mathers, Sykes, Godinet, Anderson, McShane, Kirmond, Washbrook, Wildie, Ryan, Moore, Sammut, Walshaw, Smith, Molloy, Siejka, Scruton, Riley, Owen, Gilmour.
First Utility Super League
Thu 26th Mar
Salford Red Devils36 - 8Widnes Vikings
Fri 27th Mar
Castleford Tigers20 - 14Hull FC
Hull K R24 - 22St Helens
Warrington Wolves10 - 29Huddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors52 - 10Wakefield Wildcats
Sat 28th Mar
Catalans Dragons22 - 38Leeds Rhinos
Thu 2nd Apr
Hull FCvsHull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Fri 3rd Apr
Castleford TigersvsLeeds Rhinos
Wigan WarriorsvsSt Helens
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Mon 6th Apr
Warrington WolvesvsCastleford Tigers
Hull K R0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Wigan Warriors
St Helens0 - 0Hull FC
Catalans DragonsvsWidnes Vikings
Fri 10th Apr
Hull FCvsWidnes Vikings
Sat 11th Apr
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Castleford TigersvsHull K R
Sun 12th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0St Helens
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Apr
Wigan WarriorsvsWarrington Wolves
Fri 17th Apr
St HelensvsLeeds Rhinos
Sun 19th Apr
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield WildcatsvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Apr
Hull FC0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds RhinosvsWarrington Wolves
St Helens0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 25th Apr
Catalans DragonsvsHull K R
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield GiantsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC0 - 0Salford Red Devils
St Helens0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 21st May
Castleford TigersvsHuddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC0 - 0St Helens
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull K R
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
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- Win keeps Tigers in the hunt
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- Radford: Lancaster can star
- Hull FC too good for Broncos
- Saints laugh off criticism
- Betts fumes at Widnes
- Widnes snatch Dragons draw
- Wolves roll over Rhinos
- St Helens cruise past Salford
- Bulls call upon experience
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- Response pleases Anderson
- Giants too strong for Wigan
- Wolves v Rhinos: Teams
- Vikings v Dragons: Teams
- Saints v Red Devils: Teams
- Wane: O'Loughlin our leader
- Eorl praises Wigan
- Giants v Warriors: Teams
- Foster: Bulls must beat Wakey
- Warriors hopeful on quartet