Smith: No added pressure
Sports Journalism student Daniel Fearnley of University of Chester catches up with Wolves' head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith as Tetley's Challenge Cup action heads to The Halliwell Jones Stadium this Sunday afternoon; talking returning players, the Cup competition and backing up last week's win over Huddersfield.
Tony is hoping to bring back a few of his players off the injured list for this week's Tetley's Challenge Cup clash with the Salford City Reds:
"The two Monaghan brothers will be considered and they will have a fitness test this week. They were close for last week but didn't quite make it so we will check them out. Lee Briers will come into the 19, but we've got two or three who we thought would be returning for selection this week but have not quite made it in Rhys Evans, Chris Bridge and Adrian Morley; they probably need another week. Ben Harrison will be back playing this week, I'm pretty sure, but he needs a fitness test and if he passes that he'll play for Swinton."
Smith has warned against any complacency in his squad before the game:
"Each match is a challenge in its own right. Salford are a very good attacking team and they will cause us dangers, particularly when they have the ball. They've got some dangerous individuals who can make things happen so we need to make sure that we don't give them too much ball. We need to control the ball well and defend well. Whether we play Salford, who are running where they are, or someone who is at the top it makes no difference, you've got to go out there and perform. As we've seen already in the competition this year, any team can come up with an upset against team that is in a much higher position, so it's our job not to let that happen this week."
Smith also insists that there is no added pressure on the squad as they go into the game as cup holders:
"Each year is a new year so you've got to start again and get through each round. It's no different for us than for Salford or indeed any other team. The fact that we've had success in the past, were proud of that but it doesn't give you any right to expect that you will have it again next year. It's a brand new competition and a brand new year. There is no pressure that isn't there for anybody else. It's just getting there and concentrating on your job each and every round. What we've shown in the past is that we've been pretty good at being able to concentrate on each of these rounds."
On whether the Wolves can pick up their fourth Challenge Cup in five seasons, Smith said:
"Only time will tell. Can we? Absolutely, but so can any of the teams who are still in the competition. We've got the ability to get there but we have got to concentrate on each week. We'll concentrate on this one, we won't look any further beyond that. We'll be in there trying as hard as we can this week."
Tony also spoke about last week's important victory over the Huddersfield Giants:
"It was pretty close to the best all round performance. We were pretty good to a man so I'm pleased with the performance. I think our defensive efforts were very good. There were a couple of blemishes but not many; I think that we were committed to each other in defence, so that was pleasing. We've been working really hard on that aspect and we've built a resilience when defending our own try line and defending back-to-back sets, those aspects that we've been striving to improve; improvement is always good, that's our goal and ambition each week."
In addition to this, Tony also evaluated the performance of the young players who have had to step into the squad recently:
"Danny Bridge will return to Swinton this week, his month loan has finished but he's done a fine job for us and he's got some really good experience. If called upon he will have benefited from the experience that he has gained recently, he didn't look out of place whatsoever. Young Glenn Riley is doing a terrific job as well, and he's got another week to go. Whether he stays or whether he returns to Swinton we will make that decision next week. Those two boys in particular have been very good. There are a few young boys who are still there and in the squad, Ben Currie, for example. Hopefully they'll continue in good vein."
Tickets for Sunday's game, kick-off 3pm, are on sale in WolfWare, at WolfWare Online and on the ticket hotline 08448 11 11 76 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm).
2013 Junior Season Ticket holders gain Free Entry when exchanging their Special Voucher 15 for a ticket in store up until Saturday 11th, no vouchers will be exchanged or accepted on the day of the game.
Please be aware that prices will increase on match day.
09, May, 2013