Leeds performances have improved massively over the last couple of weeks, and last fridays victory over the high-flying Dragons was comprehensive and impressive. Salford had an easy passage through
the fourth round with a 58-18 victory at Whitehaven, but haven't won in Superleague for over a month.
Paul McShane and Brad Singleton have been brought into the Leeds nineteen and join the seventeen who emerged victorious last weekend. Watkins and Jones-Buchanan are booth seeing some light at the
end of a long injury tunnel but there is no sign of the optimism that surrounded Rob Burrows' injury ahead of last friday. He could well be absent for some time.
The nineteen trusted to make progress in the cup are; Webb, Jones-Bishop, Hardaker, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, McShane, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Smith, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Griffin,
Moore, Singleton, and Lunt. I think it will be the new additions that miss out and hope that Lunt shines as brightly as he did last week.
Phil Vievers is really struggling on the field, and knows that his club could be on the verge of a financial crisis off it, having only just managed to pay a tax bill earlier in the week.
For the Reds, Shannan McPherson has been ruled out after aggravating a medial ligament problem and Vinnie Anderson is long term injured after surgery. Ashley Gibson has come out in the press with
all guns firing and warning Leeds that they won't get an easy ride on Sunday, but that sounds like your typical pre-match bravado that can quickly disappear into the shadows.
Vievers puts his trust in a nineteen of; Patten, Broughton, Gleeson, Moon, Williams, Holdsworth, Smith, Jewitt, Godwin, Neal, Ashurst, Adamson, Wild, Sidlow, Paleaaesina, Nero, Howarth, Gibson, and
Three Reds to keep an eye on;
It is very difficult to look very far beyond last months massive Leeds victory when predicting the likely outcome of Sundays
cup tie. The cup can always deliver the odd giant-killing, but I think we had that with Featherstones win over the Tigers in the fourth round. A Salford win over a Rhinos gaining in confidence would
indeed be a big shock and one which I can't really give any credibility to.
Leeds are unbeaten in Salford in donkeys years, and have only lost to Salford on one occasion in the Superleague era. Sunday won't change that record.
That said, Salford are only six Super League points adrift of the Rhinos with almost half the season gone. The league table suggests that this will be far from a walkover.
This should be a straight-forward progression into the quarter finals, and hopefully a home tie against National League opposition (winner of Leigh and Halifax would do very nicely).I'm tipping
Leeds by thirty-four but wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be more.
Sundays forecast is for rain and wind which will rattle round a pretty exposed stadium and could cause some ball
playing hardships for both teams. It is likely to act as a leveller, but shouldn't be enough of an equalising factor to effect the outcome.
The bookies have given the Reds a fourteen point start (two more than when we played them in March) and on this occasion I think that we'll cover it with ease.
Travel safe, enjoy the game, and if you have any sense at all, avoid parking in the official car park unless you want to still be in Salford into the early hours of the morning.
Everything crossed for a Rhinos win.