Rugby League: Turner free to rekindle rivalry

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The Independent Online
DARREN TURNER, a Wembley try-scorer for Sheffield Eagles last year, will be free to play in their re-match against Salford, the side they beat in the semi-finals, despite being given a one-match ban last night.

Turner was sent off for a reckless high tackle in the friendly against Wakefield, but will serve his ban in another pre-season run-out, against Hull this Friday.

This year's Silk Cut Challenge Cup fourth-round tie between Salford and Sheffield will be the televised game on Saturday, 13 February. The meeting of the heavy hitters, between Leeds and Wigan, would have been the obvious candidate for that slot, but Leeds United are at home that day and the tie will now be televised on the Sunday.

All Wigan's first-team squad, apart from Denis Betts and Mark Reber, will feature in a friendly at Halifax tonight. Betts is still recovering from a knee injury and expects to be fit by Easter, while the Australian Reber, Wigan's likely first-choice hooker now that Jon Clarke has been gaoled, has yet to arrive.

The utility forward, Mick Cassidy, and the Academy player, Mark Smith, will share hooking duties and the match will mark the Wigan debuts of two Australian signings, Brett Goldspink and Greg Florimo.

Sheffield, meanwhile, will be without their long-term injury victims - Steve Molloy, Michael Jackson and Matt Crowther - against Hull. Their absence will also stretch the club's resources for the tie against Salford, but the Eagles' coach, John Kear, believes that the quality of his squad this season will compensate for any lack of quantity.

"We want to go back to Wembley and defend the Challenge Cup like the proud people we are," he said. "If we can do that and find the consistency to make the top five, we can tick this off as a successful season."

Bradford Bulls, long-frustrated in their hopes of playing in a redeveloped Odsal, are considering a move to a new purpose-built stadium close by. The Bulls were the best- supported club in last year's Super League, but are desperate to improve their facilities.