Wildcats head coach Richard Agar is calling on his more senior players to emerge as the leaders on the park against St. Helens at Langtree Park tonight (kick-off: 8pm).
When Agar named his 19-man squad on Wednesday it was missing the likes of skipper Danny Kirmond, Andy Raleigh, Ali Lauitiiti, Justin Poore and Tim Smith as Trinity face the trip across the Pennines to face a Saints team more than finding their feet after a shaky start to the season.
With so many of the more experienced members of the squad watching from the sidelines, Agar says it provides an opportunity not only for younger members of the squad to stake their claim for more regular action, but for the more established players to make the step up and become the leaders of the men in red, white and blue.
“We’re looking at the more experienced players like Matty Wildie and Vinnie Mellars who would have liked a little more game time,” Agar said in his pre-match press conference.
“Kyle Wood is probably another one who has had limited opportunities off the bench in the last three or four weeks.
“We’re looking for those players to stand up. We’ve got Amor coming back after a disappointing way to miss a game and Olly Wilkes will step up off the bench. We’re looking for some of those players to give us the right response in this situation. I think the manner of our performance is very, very important.
“There’s no doubt that the comfort blanket of the senior players is not going to be there so at this time I’m looking for some leadership to emerge from the senior players we’ve got in there.
“It’s always a touch challenge going over there and our most senior players are out of the squad. Every team is going to have periods across the year where they get injuries and our second half of last year we didn’t have many injuries at all so we’ve had a pretty good run.
“We’ve not got the biggest of squads and to get what we would view as our most senior and experienced players out of the team in one go is quite an unusual situation but it’s one that we’re faced with. Within it I’m sure there’s going to be some opportunity for some people to stand up and be counted which we need them to be.
“It gives us the chance to give some game time to our less than experienced players who I think have done really well over the last couple of weeks. At the same time, there’s a couple of guys who have been sat outside of the squad, not played as much football as we would like so it gives them the chance to answer some questions and really stake a claim for us moving forward.
“I’ve seen teams go out there with an understrength team, if you want, and it really brings the best out in people and brings the fighter out in them. That’s what I’m wanting from our squad this week.”
You can watch Agar’s full pre-match press conference on Wildcats TV now where he reflects further on the draw with Salford City Reds and talks about the challenge that Saints will bring.
Tickets for the game against Saints are no longer available from the Wildcats retail stores but can be purchased on the night priced at £21 for adults, £15 for concessions and juniors just £10.
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