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Official English Super League Round 22 previews -Saturday game. Warrington Wolves v Leeds Rhinos.
Wolves missing Gaskell
Grand Final dark horses Warrington face a two-game test which could make or break their engage Super League campaign.
Paul Cullen?s high-flying Wolves, beaten just twice in their last 14 League matches, take on champions Leeds on Saturday evening and chief title rivals St Helens in their next game a fortnight later, with a break in between for the Challenge Cup semi-finals.
Third-placed Warrington have already lost twice to both teams this year but their next two matches are both at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, where the Wolves have been beaten just once in 10 games - by two points against Saints way back in February.
?We are confident we are getting closer to both clubs,? said Cullen. ?Sometimes a points spread during a game may not reflect that due to circumstances that can present in any given game.
?But the battle for us against these teams is one of confidence in our ability to raise our game and match them and I am confident that we are beginning to win that battle.?
Leeds have lost twice on their travels in the last two months and coach Tony Smith is acutely aware of the threat posed by the in-form Wolves.
?They have had a good season so far and will be looking to make a real impact in the play-offs,? he said. ?They are a very ambitious club, especially since their move to their new home, and we know we are in for a tough challenge.
?They are a well-coached side with talent right across the team and have a big pack of forwards who can gain good field position if you allow them the opportunity. We need to make sure we perform at our best to compete with them.?
The Rhinos, still without skipper Kevin Sinfield, are boosted by the availability of stand-off Danny McGuire, who has shaken off an ankle injury picked up in last week?s 54-14 win over Salford.
They are without Great Britain front rower Ryan Bailey, who is still recovering from mumps, and will be looking for a big performance from veteran Barrie McDermott, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Friday.
Wigan-bound winger Mark Calderwood, who scored his fourth hat-trick of the season against Salford, goes into the game needing just three more tries for a career century.
With skipper Lee Briers ending a two-match absence with a thigh injury, Warrington are at full strength with the exception of winger Dean Gaskell, who is likely to be out for a month with a groin injury.
Gaskell suffered the injury during last weekend?s 26-14 victory against London Broncos and has not been included in the 18-man squad named by Wolves head coach Paul Cullen.
He said: ?Dean Gaskell is our only doubt, he injured his groin in the first set of the second half and will not play this weekend and is doubtful for the next two to four weeks.
?The groin is very sore and will require further time to settle before a full assessment can be made. The other injuries are bumps and bruises that are to be expected at this stage of the season.?
Marcus Bai retains his place in the Leeds squad after it was announced that he will be leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Warrington Wolves v Leeds Rhinos, Halliwell Jones Stadium, Saturday July 23 2005
Warrington 18-man: Grose, Fa?afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Briers, N. Wood, Hilton, Clarke, Leikvoll, Swann, Wainwright, Noone, Mark Gleeson, Westwood, P. Wood, Lima, Appo, Bridge.
Leeds 18-man: Mathers, Calderwood, Walker, Senior, Bai, McGuire, Burrow, Diskin, McDermott, Lauitiiti, McKenna, Dunemann, Ward, Poching, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Scruton, Cummins.
Referee: S Ganson
Many thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for the above preview