Harris issues Warriors warning

  • Last Updated: March 14 2013, 16:25 GMT

Former Leeds captain Iestyn Harris is urging Wigan to prepare for a backlash from his old club when they take on the Super League champions at Headingley on Friday night with the chance to go top of the table.

Iestyn Harris: Expects Rhinos response

The Warriors are just a point behind leaders Huddersfield after winning their last three matches but assistant coach Harris is wary of the threat posed by the Rhinos following their 32-8 home defeat by the Giants last Friday.

"Headingley is always a difficult place to go," Harris said. "We know they have some great individual players and, although they weren't great last week, we expect them to come with their A game and we will need ours as well.

"They are certain to come at us with all guns blazing. Headingley is a noisy place and we need to produce a performance that quietens the crowd."

Wigan stunned the Headingley faithful last June with a 50-8 victory, although Leeds went on to gain their revenge in the semi-finals of both the Challenge Cup and play-offs.

"Wigan are a quality side who pose any number of threats," said Rhinos coach Brian McDermott.

"We had some great battles last season when they got the better of us in the league, including a tough defeat here at Headingley, whilst we held sway in the knockout games."

Warrington, too, will be out to atone for a mauling in the corresponding fixture last year when they visit Salford.

The Wolves suffered a shock 48-24 defeat on their first visit to the Salford City Stadium last June and, having lost their last two matches, will be looking to avoid their worst run in the league for four years.

The City Reds are thought to be closing in on a successor to Phil Veivers but interim coach Alan Hunte guided his team to a point at Wakefield in his first match in charge and knows another good showing in front of ambitious owner Marwan Koukash could improve his chances of landing the job on a permanent basis.

The pair have already spoken about Friday's game and Hunte's orders were simple enough.

"To win, so no pressure there," Hunte laughed. "He was pleased with the passion and commitment the players showed last Sunday.

"Defensively we were better but there are still improvements to be made there and we are under no illusions that Warrington are going to test that.

"We can also be a lot smarter with the ball. We headed in the right direction last week and our job is to try to keep on that path."

In Friday night's other game, St Helens will be looking for their first home win under coach Nathan Brown at the fourth attempt when Wakefield visit Langtree Park.

Saints have won all three matches on their travels but lost at home to Huddersfield and Leeds and were held to a draw by Hull.

"There's no logical answer to why we haven't won at home - if there was we'd try and address it," said Brown.

"Apart from the Huddersfield game I don't think we have been bad at home. We would like to do better, we would like to get some results for the fans."

Wakefield coach Richard Agar has called up youngsters Bobbie Goulding, Danny Cowling and Matty Wildie in the absence of five senior players through injury, including influential scrum-half Tim Smith.

"I suppose every team gets injuries and how we cope with those injuries is the key," Agar said.

"You only have to look at the calibre of players that have copped a hit at once which has undoubtedly robbed us of some of our best players all at the same time.

"It is difficult to contend with but we'll get on with the job and give it our best shot."

Half-back Goulding, 19, is hoping to make his Super League debut against the team for which his father Bobbie made his name.

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