England centre Leroy Cudjoe last night urged his Huddersfield Giants colleagues to make sure they “turn” their season against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
They host their West Yorkshire rivals this afternoon, having finally secured a win at Salford Red Devils on Good Friday.
Huddersfield, last year’s League Leaders, had lost four successive matches during a torrid start, which had seen them previously win just once since their opener at Wigan in February.
But Cudjoe hopes they have now emerged from their malaise and can begin producing the sort of stellar football which became their hallmark in 2013.
“It definitely could be a turning point,” he told The Yorkshire Post, with Huddersfield now up to ninth.
“Any team that has a good Easter will put themselves in a good position. We aren’t too far from the top four so, hopefully, if we get a good Easter done we can go from there.
“The boys were happy with the (42-22) win at Salford but we know we can be a lot better and shouldn’t have conceded as many points as we did.
“But we did need a win to help get some confidence back in our play, so it was crucial.
“Hopefully, now we take that into the Wakefield game and lift our performance again.”
Their visitors are enduring real difficulties of their own and know a defeat today would mark a sixth successive loss.
They fell 43-20 against Castleford Tigers on Good Friday and four players from that fixture are unable to figure today.
Crucially, that list includes inspirational captain Danny Kirmond (quad) and scrum-half Pita Godinet (ankle) who both suffered injuries in that derby, while Australian centre Dean Collis and winger Reece Lyne – having only recently returned to fitness – will not be risked.
Fringe players Luke Walshaw, Luke Briscoe, Jordan Crowther and former Giant Jon Molloy are drafted in while another former Huddersfield player – Andy Raleigh – could return with ex-England winger Peter Fox after both were left out versus Castleford.
Cudjoe, 26, insisted: “Wakefield are a good team. They’ve shown that in a few games they have played this year.
“Their last few games haven’t been great just like ours but we will treat Wakefield like we would any other – with respect.
“They have some dangermen and people like Jarrod Sammut and Paul McShane can come up with great plays off the cuff so we need to be good.”
It was a surprise for many to see Cudjoe in action at Salford, given he had recently injured his ankle and it had been announced by the Giants that he could be missing for up to eight weeks of action.
Instead, the Super League Dream Team centre sat out just the 30-6 loss at Hull FC before making that swift return.
Cudjoe, who had missed only two games in the last three years, insisted there was no miracle cure as such.
“The ankle wasn’t as bad as we thought,” he said. “It had made massive improvements over a few days. There’s no secret to it. It’s more just having a great medical team treating me every day and doing the right things at home.
“It was very frustrating not playing at Hull. It’s very hard when you’re injured and much worse when the team isn’t playing great. You just want to get out there and help. But, at the same time, I was fortunate it (the injury) wasn’t worse.”
Given that recent problem, it would be understandable if Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson did not select his player this afternoon for a second game in just four days.
But Cudjoe, who proved such a revelation during England’s World Cup last autumn, said: “The ankle’s feeling good.
“I came through the Friday fine and have confidence it’ll hold up fine if I play Monday.
“That’s down to Baloo (Anderson) but I’m ready to go.”
There is still no Luke Robinson, after he missed Friday with a slight knock, so former Wakefield player Kyle Wood is set to start again at scrum-half while England’s former Trinity second-row Brett Ferres serves the third game of his five-match ban.
Anderson has retained the same 19-man squad as Friday but could freshen things up still with former Queensland State of Origin prop Antonio Kaufusi – left out for the first time at Salford – and young full-back Jake Connor the unused members pushing their claims.