Paul Sykes will make his Wakefield debut today and will hope to put the boot into his old club. Sykes spent seven seasons with the London Broncos – who were known as Harlequins for part of that time.
Now he has joined the Wildcats on loan for the rest of the season from Bradford. He is in line to make his first appearance in the centres in place of Dean Collis, who is ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Wakefield hope that, as a front-line goalkicker, Sykes will fill another role for them. So far this season, they have relied, with mixed results, on Isaac John, but Sykes is more of a specialist marksman than him. "He will be a really good addition to the squad," said the Wildcats coach, Richard Agar, of the former England international.
Sykes said: "I've only played twice this season, so I just want to get playing and enjoying it again."
He slots into a Wakefield team boosted by an unexpected 32-22 win over the Catalan Dragons last weekend. Another positive development is that Kyle Amor is fit to take his place in the front row, after being cleared of fears that he had aggravated a hand injury.
London have one of their major off-season signings, Shane Rodney, back in their squad for the first time since February. The highly regarded back-rower, signed from Manly's Australian Grand Final-winning team, has been sidelined with a knee injury.
His former Manly team-mate Michael Robertson is also fit again, along with Jason Golden. Omari Caro, David Howell and Olsi Krasniqi drop out.
The Broncos were particularly disappointed by their defeat at Widnes last weekend. "We owe the fans, the owner and ourselves a good performance after last week and I know the lads are keen to make amends," said their coach, Rob Powell.
The Catalans, who host Widnes today, have Ian Henderson and Damien Blanch back in contention, but are still without Steve Menzies, Cyril Stacul and Frédéric Vaccari. Louis Anderson is in line to play only his third game for the Dragons after arriving from Warrington in the winter while the French youngster Damien Cardace could make his debut on the wing.
Widnes will have a spring in their stride after that win over London, although they still face the challenge of putting good performances back-to-back. "It's great for the fans to have their team back playing at the very top level," said the Widnes coach, Denis Betts. "Being able to go and watch them play in another country is a fantastic opportunity."
The Vikings are without the suspended Hep Cahill, but hope to have their full-back, Shaun Briscoe, fit to resume.
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