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SUPER LEAGUE PREVIEW | Huddersfield Giants vs Salford Red Devils

It’s a crunch game at the bottom with two sides desperate for points.Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash.

SQUAD NEWS

Huddersfield Giants

Huddersfield come into this crucial game on a five match winless run, with interim boss Chris Thorman picking up just the one point in three matches since the sacking of Rick Stone.

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Thorman makes five changes to the squad that was defeated 28-40 by Castleford last Sunday, with a number of key players returning from injury.

Kruise Leeming and Alex Mellor both return after passing head tests, Darnell McIntosh and Ryan Hinchcliffe are back after missing the Castleford game, and Danny Brough could also return after an ankle strain.

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Michael Lawrence and Dale Ferguson are both forced out with hamstring injuries, while Leeming’s return gives Adam O’Brien a rest. Tyler Dickinson and Louis Senior are the other two to drop out.

Huddersfield 19-man squad: Turner, Murphy, Gaskell, Brough, Ikahihifo, Leeming, Wakeman, Hinchcliffe, Rankin, Roberts, Ta’ai, Clough, Smith, Walne, Mellor, McIntosh, English, Simpson, I Senior.

Salford Red Devils

Salford travel to Huddersfield yet to win away from home in five attempts so far this season. The last was a 20-0 defeat at Leeds, which was followed by last Saturday’s 22-6 loss at home to Warrington.

Those defeats keep them just a point above the Giants and two from bottom placed Catalans, and they need to pick up wins quickly if they hope to make the Super 8s for the second season running.

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Ian Watson makes two changes to his squad. He welcomes back Niall Evalds, who suffered a head knock in the Leeds defeat, and he replaces the on-loan Jake Shorrocks who made his debut last weekend.

The other swap sees George Griffin come in and Luke Burgess dropped.

Salford 19-man squad: Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Jones, Hauraki, Flanagan, Tasi, Lannon, Nakubuwai, Wood, Olpherts, Mossop, Bibby.

HEAD TO HEAD

Salford have won on their previous four trips to the John Smith’s Stadium, with their last defeat on this ground coming back in 2013.

The Red Devils won all three contests between the two sides last season, winning 30-20 away and then 36-20 and 52-14 at the AJ Bell Stadium.

KEY BATTLE- Jordan Rankin v Robert Lui

Both of these sides desperately need wins, and to do that they both need more tries with both failing to average more than 2.5 tries a game so far this season.

Injuries and financial pressures have left Salford short in the backs and that has put a great reliance on Robert Lui to do much of the creative work.

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He has been their standout in that area of the pitch and needs to be influential from stand off against Huddersfield, with the return of Niall Evalds allowing him to go back into the halves rather than play at full back where he couldn’t influence as much against Warrington.

Huddersfield have had their own backline injuries, particularly with the absences of Jake Mamo and Jermaine McGillvary, but Jordan Rankin has played every game in 2018, and is becoming increasingly influential in setting plays in attack.

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If Danny Brough returns he will have good support at halfback, which will be a key area for both sides if they are to pick up a crucial two points.

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Sunday 15 April
Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Referee: James Child

WHO WILL WIN?

Who do you think will take the two points here?

I am a 19-year-old Sports Journalism student at the University of Huddersfield. I cover a lot of rugby league, following Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants and working for Halifax RLFC. If you want to see more of my ramblings on rugby and football then follow me on Twitter @stibbo99.

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