McRae keeps faith with Hull despite defeat

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The Independent Online

The Hull coach, Shaun McRae, gives his players a vote of confidence today despite their Challenge Cup defeat at St Helens last week.

With Peter Lupton recovered from a leg knock, McRae fields an identical side at Wakefield. "I couldn't have asked for any more last week," he said. "They gave everything. You don't always reward players when they get beaten, but this time there were so many positives."

Wakefield were relieved to find that Albert Talipeau has not broken a scaphoid as first feared. He is rested today, with Paul Handforth coming into the squad and Michael Korkidas promoted to start with Olivier Elima dropping to the bench.

Tomorrow's games see Widnes, still in search of their first Super League win of the season, at home to Leeds. The Vikings' coach, Neil Kelly, believes that "when we get one win, others will follow very quickly" and hopes to build on the improved showing against St Helens last time.

Chris Feather starts a match for Leeds for the first time since arriving from Wakefield last season and Liam Botham is 18th man after impressing in the Academy side.

London Broncos got their first win against Salford last week, but face sterner opposition from Warrington. The Broncos could have Nigel Roy back after a groin injury against a Wolves side still lacking Graham Appo and Chris Leikvoll.

Wigan give another of their apparently endless supply of young players, Bob Beswick, his chance at Huddersfield. Mick Cassidy serves a one-match suspension and Danny Tickle comes into the starting line-up, with Beswick, a highly rated utility forward, on the bench.

The Wigan coach, Mike Gregory, dismissed any hopes that Adrian Lam could return in time for the Cup semi-final against Warrington on 18 April.

As the Arriva Trains Cup nears the end of its group stage, there are mixed fortunes for two players who have stepped down from Super League.

Radney Bowker, released by London, will make his second debut for Leigh at Chorley, but Dean Lawford, back at Batley from Widnes, could miss the rest of the season with a shattered cheekbone.

Lawford suffered the injury in a tackle for which Doncaster's Craig Miles was placed on report in midweek and his absence begins with tomorrow's match against Featherstone.

Batley's neighbours, Dewsbury, have entered into a partnership with Bradford which will see the National League Two club tapping into the Bulls' expertise on and off the field.