Giants turn focus on Leeds in drive to win back fans

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The Independent Online

Huddersfield, their stock boosted by last week's victory over Wigan, take on another of the game's big guns this afternoon when the Super League leaders, Leeds, come to the McAlpine Stadium.

The win over Wigan has not only boosted the squad's confidence, it has started to win back a disillusioned public. The Giants will fill their corporate hospitality facilities for the first time today and there are signs that fans are starting to drift back into the rest of the ground as well.

"I can understand the people of Huddersfield being a bit wary, because of all the broken promises in the past," said the Giants coach, Tony Smith. "It's been a while since they had a really consistent Huddersfield team to support, but we need them back now."

Smith wants his side to show that consistency by producing an equally good performance today and he will be keeping team changes to a minimum, although Matthew Whittaker could come on to the bench in place of Graham Holroyd.

Whichever is selected will be alongside one of the surprise successes of Huddersfield's season so far. Iain Morrison, a Londoner who came through the Broncos' development scheme, took a chance by coming north, but has established himself in the first-team squad. "He isn't very big, but he has plenty of courage and he plays well above his weight," Smith said. "I wish some of the boys bigger than him played in the same way."

Smith is also full of praise for Stanley Gene, the Papua New Guinean utility player who is the nearest thing to a specialist scrum-half Huddersfield have and who dominated his fellow-countryman, Adrian Lam, last week.

"There has been a lot of criticism of us not having a scrum-half," Smith said. "If there was a classical number seven out there, we might go out and sign him, but Stanley is doing more than enough for us."

Leeds will be without the injured Keith Senior, Andrew Dunemann and Ryan Bailey, but Gary Connolly returns at full-back, with Kevin Sinfield at stand-off and Danny Ward at prop.

For tomorrow's game at Warrington, London have named an unchanged team, although there have been hints that Jim Dymock could be ready to return. For the Wolves, Mark Hilton could miss his first match of the season in the front row.

Chris Chester is back in Hull's side at Widnes and the longer-term absentee, Jason Smith, is expected to make his return from his shoulder injury next weekend.

In National League One, Salford celebrate last week's victory in the Arriva Trains Cup by entertaining Hull KR. Leigh, beaten in that final at Rochdale, go back there tomorrow to play the in-form Hornets. Leigh have Tommy Martyn in full training after his broken arm, but he is not ready to be risked yet.

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