Daryl Powell, the Leeds coach, has the luxury of a squad virtually at full strength for the visit of Hull to Headingley this evening that could put the Rhinos five points clear at the top of Super League. Bradford will have two games in hand, but it would still be an enviable position for Leeds to be in, with the Yorkshire neighbours scheduled to meet next weekend.
Only Chev Walker, with a shoulder injury, is ruled out, with prop Wayne McDonald back in action and even second-rower Matt Adamson in line to play for the first time since the Challenge Cup final, subject to medical advice on the facial injuries he defied in order to play in Cardiff. Leeds also welcome back their other senior second-row Dave Furner, hooker Matt Diskin and full-back Gary Connolly, who were all rested for last week's match at London.
Hull, despite a heavier injury toll, have hung on to third place and they make one change to the side that beat Huddersfield last Sunday, calling up the former Leeds Academy prop Glen Donkin in place of Steve Craven, who aggravated an Achilles tendon injury against the Giants.
For tomorrow's game against Bradford, the Huddersfield coach, Tony Smith, could throw Paul Reilly straight in for his first senior game since August. The full-back marked his recovery from a double leg fracture by scoring a hat-trick for the Academy side in midweek.
Bradford will be without the suspended Leon Pryce, with Karl Pratt likely to fill in at stand-off.
The Castleford coach Graham Steadman hopes to enlist Jon Hepworth at the second attempt when the Leeds hooker or half-back makes his debut for the Tigers on loan against Widnes. "We had him here at 16, but he looked at our facilities and looked at theirs and decided to join them," he said. Captain Danny Orr is fit to play after being forced off against Bradford in the incident that saw Pryce being sent off.
Widnes still expect to be without Steve McCurrie, who is easing his way back after a groin injury. Full-back Stuart Spruce (calf) and winger Marvin Golden (dead leg) are also doubtful after picking up injuries in last week's defeat by Wigan.Reuse content