Sheridan in doubt for Leeds

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Leeds will be without their regular scrum-half, Ryan Sheridan, for the match at Bradford tomorrow night that could keep their mathematical chance of winning the Stones Super League title alive for another week.

Sheridan damaged ankle ligaments in the defeat by North Queensland last week and his coach, Dean Bell, is delaying a decision on who will replace him until the eve of the match.

Graham Holroyd could switch to play scrum-half, while both Dean Lawford and Gavin Brown are on stand-by.

Bell must also decide whether to risk Richie Blackmore, the New Zealand international centre who has been out for two months with a similar, but more serious injury. Blackmore has trained fully for the first time this week and the temptation to use a player of his strike-power, for at least part of the match, will be strong.

"It is only a matter of time before Bradford sew up the title and we just have to try and ensure that they don't do it against us," Bell said. "We know that we have come up short in the previous games between the sides, so there is a lot of local pride at stake."

Bradford have to check the fitness of James Lowes, Paul Anderson, Jon Scales and - almost inevitably - Robbie Paul before Matthew Elliott can finalise his side.

Oldham, badly needing a victory to prevent them becoming adrift at the foot of the table, are at St Helens, who are without Vila Matuatia and Steve Prescott with injuries picked up in the World Club Championship in Australia.

Saints have "had a word" with the group of players who adopted dyed blond hair for the trip, attracting criticism - especially when they were losing heavily - that they were not taking it seriously. "You only do that sort of thing at the end of the season or when you are right on top of your game," the club's chief executive, David Howes, said. "It was a bit of misplaced bonding."

Paris, one of the clubs Oldham could hope to catch, play Halifax in the southern French town of Narbonne today - after which they will travel to England for their WCC play-off against Saints on Wednesday. Warrington will have Salesi Finau beack from suspension against Salford, while Andrew Duncan plays the last match of his loan period with the club before returning to London Broncos.

Castleford have ended any uncertainty about the future of their teenage scrum-half or hooker, Danny Orr, by improving an extending his contract, which will now run until 2000. Orr had been a target for the Australian club, Perth Reds.

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