McDermott takes the positives

  • Last Updated: March 25 2013, 15:00 GMT

The double postponement of Leeds' Super League derby at Wakefield at the weekend could prove to be a blessing for the champions, according to coach Brian McDermott.

Carl Ablett: Set to face Bradford on Thursday

The Rhinos boss has revealed that centre Carl Ablett and second row forward Brett Delaney were both injury doubts for the game against the Wildcats, which was put back from Friday to Sunday before being called off again because of the snow.

They are now both set to feature for the champions in Thursday's clash with Bradford at Headingley, where the undersoil heating has kept the pitch snow-free.

"We were disappointed the game wasn't on but it was a bit of a blessing in disguise because we had a few niggles that we needed to get over," said McDermott. "We'll see if it's worked for us."

McDermott accepts his team will be fresh as they prepare for three games in 11 days over Easter - they face Catalan Dragons in Perpignan on Easter Monday - but admits it could cause problems with fixture congestion later in the season.

Leeds now have two games in hand on their title rivals following the postponement of the Widnes home game, which was re-arranged for Monday, June 17, because of their involvement in the World Club Challenge.

"We've effectively got three Easters," McDermott said. "We've got three lots of doubling up to do.

"But this squad has played in a lot of games and we're affected internationally more than most clubs so we're used to this type of situation and we get on with it.

"The players are in good nick - we're not dragging them out of nightclubs after a weekend to get them back into training - so, while it's not ideal and you wouldn't plan for it, it's not the worst thing in the world."

Bradford's game against Catalan Dragons at the weekend went ahead in spring sunshine in the south of France but they were forced to endure three-hour delays at both ends of their journey because of snow at Leeds-Bradford Airport.

Bulls coach Francis Cummins does not believe the nightmare journey will have a disruptive effect on his side's preparation for the start of a busy Easter programme but is concerned over the amount of snow that still lingers at the club's training base.

"They're digging out our training ground, where there's four and five-feet drifts, so we may have to do something different in the next couple of days," he said.

"We've just got to make the best of it."

Cummins is hoping to have the services of Australian centre Keith Lulia for Thursday's derby after he missed the Bulls' 30-10 defeat in Perpignan through injury.


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