McDermott in determined mood

PA Sport
Brian McDermott is keen to guide Leeds to a victory before their trip to Wembley
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Brian McDermott is keen to guide Leeds to a victory before their trip to Wembley

There is no danger of Leeds taking their foot off the gas against Catalan even if there is a Challenge Cup final just eight days away, according to coach Brian McDermott.

The defending champions face Warrington at Wembley a week on Saturday and have already suffered two injury blows, with Danny McGuire (knee) being ruled out and Rob Burrow (calf) a doubt. A long trip to a baking hot south of France would not be high on their priorities as a result, especially for a meeting with a bruising and title-hunting Dragons side.

On the other side of the coin, with his squad in good health, Warrington boss Tony Smith has rested six players for his side's clash with London, but unlike the Wolves, Leeds' finishing position is not secure.

Warrington are certain to be in the top two, while the Rhinos are jostling for position and McDermott said: "If we were sitting pretty in the league we may have looked to do certain things and change the team a little bit, but where we are in the league and how important the win is in the league, plus the news about Danny McGuire being out of the team now has put things differently.

"If I'm honest, though, we were always going to go to Catalan and give it a go.

"You would like a home game, but this is what we've got and this is what we will deal with. The main reason why it is difficult, though, is that they are a very good team and they have a good coach in Trent Robinson."

The Dragons can welcome Thomas Bosc back into their side but, with form eluding them of late, the last thing they needed was a lengthy injury list heading into the play-offs. That is what they have got, though, with key forward Steve Menzies heading up a list of five players who will not be involved.

Hull are another side to have experienced fitness problems this season, and they take their campaign to Widnes knowing a win will keep them in the running for a third-placed finish. They face tricky opposition, however, in the form of a Vikings side that, despite being rooted to the bottom of the table, are capable of scoring points on their home pitch.

"In their last five home games they have been averaging 30 points, so they are certainly throwing caution to the wind and on their home track they are a very good side," said Hull coach Peter Gentle.

"Our defence is going to have to be good. In fact, it has to be spot on as they are going to threaten us as much as any other side in this competition."

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