11:30am Thursday 5th June 2014
By Alex Bysouth
WARRINGTON Wolves are looking to avenge a defeat still fresh in their minds when they face Bradford Bulls in Sunday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final.
Beaten 34-28 at Odsal last month, Tony Smithknows no scope exists for slip ups in this competition and is confident his side will show the intensity required to progress.
“We’re looking forward to putting in a much more sustained performance, we were spasmodic and that defeat is fresh in our minds,” said Smith, who has rubbished rumours he will be leaving for St George Illawarra Dragons.
“There are no second chances in the cup which means we’ve got to perform. That pressure we’ve responded to pretty well in the past. We’ve got the right mindset for cup games, hopefully that’ll be the case come Sunday in what is going to be a tough game as we found out last time.”
A key player in Wolves’ recent upturn in form, Chris Bridge, has been named with Chris Hill, Ben Westwood, Richie Myler and Stefan Ratchford in a 34-man England squad this week.
Bridge’s last appearance for his country came in a defeat to the Exiles in 2011 and Smith said: “We’re pleased for Bridgey and glad he’s got some recognition.
“It’s been a really good month to five weeks. He’s really hit consistent good form and is playing as well as he’s ever played.
“He’s looking to make this rich vein of form his norm and is backing it up each week and enjoying the role he’s playing in.”
Bridge moved into the half backs after injuries sidelined Myler and Ratchford but now the trio are fit and fighting for two spots, but Smith is confident he can continue to utilise all three, as he did in Friday’s impressive win against Leeds.
“It’s difficult to move Bridgey when he’s playing so well,” said Smith. “But we’ve got other players in great form as well.
“Stefan has been for a while. Since his return Richie has been terrific – even off the bench he’s really played a significant role.
“We’re in good shape and we’ll find a way for those three to continue contributing to the team’s performance.”
In other team news, James Laithwaite (broken foot) faces a six-week absence, but Wolves’ forward problems could be eased with Simon Grix returning on Sunday.
Joel Monaghan has trained following a concussion sustained against Leeds, although Smith may give Ben Currie longer to recover from a similar injury.
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