The game against Salford is great for me, especially on a friday night. The ground is within a couple of miles of where I work, so I can 'type away' until after seven and then roll up to the ground.
Tony Smith has made a couple of changes for tonight with McKenna joining Ellis on the injured (not to be risked) register. Willie Poching comes back into the seventeen, and Nick Scruton gets his reward for playing well in a disappointing Senior Academy side with a call onto the bench. Liam Botham also gets another chance, and it will be interesting to see if Smithy really does play JJB at loose forward.
Salford go into tonights game looking to avoid three consecutive defeats after coming unstuck at Knowsley Road last week and a disappointing defeat at home to Hull FC in the previous two rounds. The City Reds run Wigan close in Round One before slipping to a 15-4 defeat before back to back victories against London and Leigh to give them their four competition points so far.
The City Reds major close season signings came from Wigan in the shape of Luke Robinson and David Hodgson. Mitchell Stringer arrived via Sheffield from London last weekend and Tom Jonkers arrived from St Helens. The City Reds will be without Karl Fitzpatrick and Chris Charles through injury and give a First Grade debut to 18-year old fullback Darren Bamford. Prop Stuart Dickens is expected to have the goal kicking duties in the absence of Charles.
The Salford 18-man squad is: Hodgson, Littler, McGuinness, Stewart, Beverley, Robinson, Dickens, Alker, Rutgerson, Sibbit, Baldwin, Haggerty, Coley, Brocklehurst, Bamford, Stringer, Jonkers, Clough.
Three Reds to keep an eye on;
It should be a great night for open rugby. The forecast is for fair weather and a decent temperature, dropping to 10 degrees by the end of the game. With little rain over the last week in Manchester, conditions underfoot should also be okay.
Many of you will remember last seasons 'nilling' of the Reds, but I can't see it happening again. After being conservative for the last two weeks, I'm tipping a big Rhinos win this week. The bookies have given the Reds a 22 point start, but I think that we will beat that.
If our followings so far this season are anything to go by, there should be plenty there from Leeds. With the game being on a friday night, I think that it will have a negative effect on travelling support, but we must still be in with a chance of outnumbering the home support like we did at Huddersfield a fortnight ago!
Check out Oldladys' Ground Guide and enjoy the game.