As a full round of Betfred Super League fixtures return, Salford Red Devils welcome Hull KR to the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday night.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Salford Red Devils
Ian Watson’s side go into this game off the back of a free weekend, having started their campaign with two defeats. In round one they were brushed aside 40-12 by Wigan Warriors, before an agonising 14-12 loss to Wakefield Trinity.
The Robins also started with two defeats, at the hands of Wakefield and Leeds Rhinos, before getting off the mark at the third time of asking. While last year’s top eight enjoyed either a rest or a trip to Australia, Rovers picked up a 23-3 win over Catalans Dragons.
Salford Red Devils
Salford welcome Mark Flanagan and Greg Johnson to their match-day squad, with George Griffin and Derrell Olpherts making way.
Devils squad: Gareth O’Brien, Greg Johnson, Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds, Robert Lui, Jack Littlejohn, Craig Kopczak, Logan Tomkins, Josh Jones, Weller Hauraki, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Luke Burgess, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby
Tim Sheens has made three changes to his 19-man-squad as Danny McGuire missed out through injury, while Chris Clarkson and Will Oakes also miss out. Andrew Heffernan, Nick Scruton and James Greenwood come in.
Rovers squad: Adam Quinlan, Thomas Minns, Andrew Heffernan, Ryan Shaw, Nick Scruton, Shaun Lunt, Mose Masoe, Maurice Blair, James Greenwood, Ben Kavanagh, Lee Jewitt, Tommy Lee, Matty Marsh, Robbie Mulhern, Liam Salter, Chris Atkin, Jordan Walne, Danny Tickle, Justin Carney
After a year in the Championship, biding their time, Hull KR finally have a chance to gain revenge over Salford Red Devils. Gareth O’Brien’s golden-point extra-time field goal consigned The Robins to the second tier in the Million Pound Game back in 2016.
Now, the two sides are competing back in Super League, and are both harboring top eight aspirations. If they are to avoid the bottom four, a victory in this fixture is vital, even more so for the Red Devils as they are yet to pick up a win.
In the last meeting of the two sides Ben Murdoch-Masila inspired Salford to a 22-14 victory in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup. They will be without the blockbuster forward this time though, as he made an off-season move to Warrington Wolves.
With no Danny McGuire, Rovers will be looking to Chris Atkin for inspiration in the halves. Even though he only made his Super League debut in round two, he has had an impressive start to his top flight career. His kicking game could be the difference, however without his experienced partner there is a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
For Salford, O’Brien will be out to make amends after his off day with the boot led to a defeat against Wakefield. They had outscored their opponents three tries to two, but missed attempts at goal meant they were on the wrong end of a 14-12 score line. He has previous in this fixture, and could pile misery on the Robins once again.
Hull KR haven’t picked up an away win over Salford Red Devils in the Super League since 2012, as they edged a close encounter 18-10. In the four occasions they have travelled to Salford following that victory six years ago, they have lost three and drawn one. KR did pick up a win in the Qualifiers at the AJ Bell Stadium in 2016 though.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 23rd February
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Referee: James Child
WHO WILL WIN?