Bradford ready for Rhinos revivalists

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The Independent Online

Bradford know that they will be facing a very different Leeds side tonight from the one they demolished earlier in the Super League season.

Bradford know that they will be facing a very different Leeds side tonight from the one they demolished earlier in the Super League season.

Beaten 44-2 at Headingley in May - not long after an honourable defeat in the Challenge Cup final at Murrayfield - Leeds have since gone on a 10-match unbeaten run, much to the relief of their coach, Dean Lance, who was feeling the pressure after their dismal start to the season.

"We have been building towards this match for the past month and keeping the winning run going has been a major incentive for us," said Lance, who knows that Bradford represent the biggest threat yet to that winning run.

As ever, it is the sheer physical power of the Bulls that throws down the most obvious challenge. "They are big men and they take some tackling," said Lance. "You've got to make sure that they don't get that juggernaut roll on."

The side entrusted with that task should be the one that won at the London Broncos last week, although there is a doubt about Kevin Sinfield's calf injury. Garreth Carvell stands by his 18th man, with Marcus St Hilaire and Anthony Farrell still injured.

Bradford are also likely to be unchanged after a victory at Wakefield that was not one of their most impressive of the season. Hopes that Michael Withers might be fit to return have been dashed, but on their own ground and in front of what should be a massive crowd, Bradford might still have what it takes to maintain their leadership of Super League.

The teams immediately below them, St Helens and Wigan, have highly winnable games, although Salford's recent home form shows that it will not necessarily be easy for Saints at The Willows.

Saints will check on the fitness of Fereti Tuilagi and Kevin Iro, who both struggled through last week's victory over Castleford, while Salford's Kris Tassell is ruled out by concussion.

Wigan are at home to Huddersfield-Sheffield, who despite last week's morale-boosting win at Warrington can hardly expect to repeat the feat at the JJB Stadium. The Giants have Darren Turner back after suspension, while Chris Chester returns afterinjury for Wigan.

Hull are at home to Wakefield Trinity who will have Warren Jowitt back after suspension, but are likely still to be without their prop Francis Stephenson, who is still not fully fit.

Halifax, who go to London, have released the former Leeds and Bradford winger, Jon Scales, after a month on trial. Scales had been playing rugby union in France and has failed to make his mark sufficiently in the Alliance team.

London's disappointing season took a turn for the worse last weekend when Huddersfield-Sheffield's win at Warrington left them two points off the foot of the table.

The Broncos are recruiting better players for next year, but they need to start winning a game or two if they are to avoid humiliation this season.

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