McDermott fears Bulls threat
Latest news ahead of Friday night's action in Super League XVIII, as Leeds prepare for a derby with Bradford.
- Related Content
Leeds coach Brian McDermott is taking no notice of Bradford's recent decline in form ahead of Friday's Super League derby at the Provident Stadium.
While McDermott's men go into the game on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run, his old club are reeling from heavy back-to-back defeats at the hands of Wigan and Warrington.
However, the Bulls remain handily placed in the top eight and demonstrated with last year's Good Friday win at Odsal, as well as an admirable draw at Headingley earlier this year, that they relish clashes with their biggest rivals.
"I think Bradford have shown enough already this season to suggest they will be challenging at the end of the year for the major honours," McDermott said.
"They will be disappointed with the loss at Warrington last Sunday but these things happen and it was probably the worst result for us because they are going to come out and be desperate to put that right on Friday night.
"It is going to be a huge game, as it was at Headingley Carnegie, and let's hope it is as intense."
Bradford scored a last-minute try through prop Adam Sidlow to snatch a deserved point at Headingley and coach Francis Cummins believes they will need an improved performance to claim maximum spoils on Friday.
"There are aspects that I want to ask more of against Leeds and we will have to work just as hard if not harder than we did that night," he said.
Leeds are without second rower Stevie Ward, who is facing a four-month lay-off with a dislocated shoulder, but have prop Ryan Bailey returning from a four-match ban.
The reigning champions are four points behind leaders Wigan but have two games in hand as the regular season reaches the halfway stage for most clubs with the first set of return fixtures.
The Warriors, who are also on a seven-match unbeaten run, host lowly Salford looking to complete the double following their 42-0 win at the Salford City Stadium on the opening night.
However, coach Shaun Wane says he will not be underestimating opponents who are now under the control of former Wigan boss Brian Noble.
The City Reds lifted themselves off the foot of the table with last week's win over Castleford in Noble's first game and they can also count on a contingent of ex-Wigan players for the bulk of their experience, including Martin Gleeson, Stephen Wilde and Wayne Godwin.
"They might be down near the bottom of the Super League but we know that, when teams come to the DW Stadium, their performances improve," Wane said.
"I've seen them do some good things in the last few weeks. We'll not be underestimating them."
St Helens have a trio of experienced players returning from injury and suspension as they look to get their season back on track against Widnes at Langtree Park.
Willie Manu, Josh Perry and Ade Gardner were among nine men missing from a patched-up Saints team for last week's 21-14 defeat at London Broncos, a fifth loss in their last six league and cup fixtures.
Main men James Roby and Jonny Lomax are still a fortnight away from making their return but coach Nathan Brown remains upbeat over his side's prospects for the season.
"I've been coaching for a long time and I have been through these situations," Brown said. "There is a big picture at the end and I know what the big picture is."
History is against the Vikings, who have yet to beat their local rivals in Super League.
In Friday's other game, London will be looking to build on their first home win of the campaign when they meet Hull FC at the KC Stadium.
Hull coach Peter Gentle, who is able to give a long-awaited debut to captain Gareth Ellis, was impressed by the Broncos' victory over Saints.
"St Helens might have been a bit under-done, but London were very good," he said.
"They've got some talent there and we know we're going to have to earn the two points."