St Hilaire determined to kick losing habit

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The Independent Online

Bradford go to Hull KR today trying to avoid equalling a club record losing run. The Bulls have lost 10 on the trot, a sequence that saw Steve McNamara leave to concentrate on his England duties. That has left Lee St Hilaire in charge until Mick Potter takes over for next season and he does not want to set that sort of record on his watch.

"Team spirit is good and no one wants to be in the losing streak that we're in," he said. "Winning becomes a habit, as does losing, and we've got to break that habit very sharply."

St Hilaire has Dave Halley back in his squad after missing last week's defeat by Salford for a family bereavement, but his replacement, Vinny Finigan, who scored two tries on debut as his replacement, could hold his place.

"Vinny played very well last week," he said. "He's still rough around the edges, but that is something we as coaches have to sort out. He will be there or thereabouts this weekend, as will Dave Halley."

Rovers have Liam Colbon back for the first time in three months after knee and jaw injuries, but will give a test to Michael Vella's ribs, which kept him out of last Thursday's Hull derby.

They can virtually secure their top-eight place with a 12th win of the season. Back to help their cause is former Wigan winger Liam Colbon, who suffered a broken jaw at Catalan Dragons in March before picking up a knee injury on the verge of his comeback.

"We've been cautious with Liam as we've got some very difficult games left to play," said Robins coach Justin Morgan. "He will play as he'll have had another week of training to prepare."

In today's other match, Catalan Dragons have Setaimata Sa back in their squad after a club suspension for the visit of Warrington. The Wolves have left Paul Wood and Louis Anderson at home, which will mean a chance for Tyrone McCarthy and Lee Mitchell, both of whom agreed new one-year contracts this week after spending much of this season on loan at Leigh, in a dress rehearsal for the Challenge Cup semi-final in two weeks' time.

"I don't think this game gives anybody an advantage or a disadvantage [for next month's tie]," said Warrington coach Tony Smith. "Each week is different. We will have a good look at each other but there is a lot to play for for us. We're trying to get some consistency in our form."

However, Smith is determined his side will not underestimate Kevin Walters' men, whose injury crisis has shown signs of easing in recent weeks.

"They've had a mixed season but they've got some of their best players back at the moment and some of their performances have been better in recent times," he said.

"They certainly didn't have the start they would have liked but it's been a difficult season injury-wise for them. They've gone through a lean period but it will be a tough game for us.

"Obviously their coach wasn't happy with them last week so we're very wary of them."

In tomorrow's games, St Helens, who also have their eyes on qualifying for Wembley, are at Wakefield. The Wildcats this week ruled out two young wingers, Luke George and Dale Morton, for the season. Better news is that two recent absentees, Sam Obst and Danny Kirmond, should be fit to return.

The other semi-finalists, Leeds, are at Salford, badly needing to pick up points if they are to give themselves a chance of squeezing into the top four for the Super League play-offs.

Crusaders, still in with a mathematical chance of making the top eight, host the current eighth-placed side, Castleford, at the Gnoll in Neath, rather than at their usual home in Wrexham.

Harlequins are at Huddersfield where a win would wipe out any danger of them finishing with the wooden spoon at the end of a difficult season.

The Championship leaders, Featherstone, are at troubled Whitehaven, while another of the highlights in that division is that most local of local derbies, Dewsbury versus Batley.

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