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Preview: Bradford v Salford (Round
Salford will put their 100% record on the line against Bradford at Odsal, where they have never won in Super League and have suffered some embarrassing defeats.
The Reds successfully followed up their shock opening win at Warrington with an emphatic defeat of newcomers Catalans Dragons, but coach Karl Harrison admits a tussle with the defending champions will provide a more accurate gauge of their form.
?It?s certainly a different challenge for us,? he said. ?They are a quality team, the world club champions, so it?s big test for us. Bradford at Bradford is always difficult.
"We started the season really well and we?re looking to build on that. Bradford had a hit and miss start and they?ll be wanting to rectify the wrongs from last week.
?It?s a real big challenge and this will tell us where we are at at the moment.?
The Bulls have three points from their opening two games but struggled to beat Wakefield and needed a late penalty to snatch a draw with Harlequins.
Coach Brian Noble knows his side need to improve but is expecting a difficult test from the side with the best defensive record from the opening two rounds.
?They are the form team of the competition,? he said. ?I think defensively they are very strong and well structured. They have some good go-forward in them as well.
?They have not had the best record here in the Super League era and I am sure they will be looking to put that right tomorrow.
?Their position in the table shows how solid they have been this year and the fact they have only conceded six points is testament to their commitment to each other in defence.
?It will be a very difficult game for us and the conditions, if they stay wet, won?t help us at all.?
Bradford are boosted by the return of winger Lesley Vainikolo, who has a remarkable scoring record of 112 tries in just 106 games.
The versatile Karl Pryce is likely to drop to the bench, with young forward Matt Cook dropping out of the squad.
Salford are without the suspended John Wilshere, so David Hodgson is set to revert to full-back with Anthony Stewart regaining his place on the wing, and back-row forward Chris Charles is recalled for his first match of the season in place of the injured Ian Sibbit (groin).
Bradford Bulls v Salford City Reds, Odsal, Friday February 24 2006
Bradford 18-man: Hape, Deacon, Vagana, Fielden, B. Harris, I. Harris, Johnson, Lynch, Bai, Gene, Pryce, Ferres, Vainikolo, Henderson, Langley, McKenna, Withers, Meyers.
Salford 18-man: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Moule, Stewart, Dunemann, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Finnigan, Sibbit, Highton, Langi, Haggerty, Littler, Clough, Baldwin, Brocklehurst, Jonkers.
Referee: R Laughton