Preview: Leeds v Wigan (R24)

Wigan Warriors resume their battle against relegation on Friday hoping to lift themselves after the shock of being sent back to the bottom of the engage Super League.

The Warriors are now back level with bottom sides Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Catalans Dragons after having two points deducted for a salary cap breach this week.

The punishment is a serious blow to the club after pulling away from the competition?s relegation position, and they now face the small matter of a trip to third-placed Leeds Rhinos.

Wigan had fallen six points adrift at one stage but Brian Noble has revived the club on the field since taking over as coach in May and remains confident of avoiding the drop.

Noble said: ?We were disappointed with what?s happened but we have to get on with it. The only thing in our control is our performances and our run-in.

?Whilst the task has been made a little more difficult we are still very confident and we need to show up against Leeds.

?There are five games left which is 10 possible points and we need to get as many of those points as possible.

?Our destiny is our own, I can only ask the players to give everything and I am confident they will do that.?

With Wakefield facing fellow strugglers Catalans - who are immune from relegation - on Sunday, there is a danger Wigan could fall two points behind the Wildcats by the end of the weekend.

But Noble is well aware of the situation and insists his side are fully fired up to face a side smarting from four consecutive defeats.

Noble added: ?Leeds aren?t in the best form so they for sure will be determined. It will be a severe test, we will look to take the game to them and be positive in what we do.

?They have a good coach who is a good friend of mine, they have some decent players who will be hurting after the recent defeats. We need to make the game anxious for them.?

It has been a difficult few weeks for the Rhinos on the field, giving up second place to Hull FC and losing a Powergen Challenge Cup semi-final to Huddersfield Giants.

They have badly missed the creativity of prolific stand-off Danny McGuire over the past fortnight due to shin splints, but the Headingley club will again have to make do without the Great Britain international.

Coach Tony Smith is unwilling to risk his star man unnecessarily as the business end of the engage Super League season approaches.

Smith said: ?We are not hiding away from the fact that we are in tough period at the moment and that we need to make sure that we improve our performances to give ourselves the best possible chance to reach our goals this season.

?The only way to get through this period is by continuing to work hard and sticking together as a group.

?That is certainly what the players and coaching staff have been doing in the past week and I know we will be stronger for our experiences of the past couple of weeks when we come out the other side.?

Prop Chris Feather, who is to leave the club at the end of the season, will wait another week before returning from a broken wrist. Jamie Thackray and Clinton Toopi are set for home debuts.

Kris Radlinski, who has said he will definitely retire at the end of the campaign, could feature for Wigan after missing the win over Catalans with knee trouble.

Michael Dobson and Stuart Fielden look to have overcome knocks in order to feature.

Leeds Rhinos 20-man squad: Donald, Walker, Senior, Burrow, Bailey, Diskin, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Ellis, Sinfield, Millard, Poching, Jones-Buchanan, Gibson, Kirke, Tansey, Thackray, Toopi.

Wigan Warriors 20-man squad: Ashton, Calderwood, Dobson, Fielden, Fletcher, Godwin, Hansen, Higham, Hock, Logan, McAvoy, O?Loughlin, Orr, Paleaaesina, Radlinski, Richards, Tickle, Vaealiki.

Referee: A Klien

Source: superleague.co.uk

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