Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity - Chris Chester keen to extend winning run in France

Wakefield's Joe Arundel.Wakefield's Joe Arundel.
Wakefield's Joe Arundel.
FEW teams have a better recent record in Perpignan than Wakefield Trinity which bodes well for Chris Chester’s side this evening.
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The West Yorkshire club are seeking a fourth successive win at Stade Gilbert Brutus when they take on Catalans Dragons.

Trinity, who flew out to the south of France on Thursday, seem to have mastered the art of winning over there and they need to maintain that record tonight.

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They ended a six-game losing run with a crucial victory over Huddersfield Giants last week but, such is the complex nature of this season’s Super League competition, they can ill-afford to revell too much in that success.

Chester is aware of that; his side can just as easily push on for the play-offs or be dragged back into the relegation mix in the next few weeks.

Granted, Catalans are in freefall having lost their last five games but they will be as desperate as Wakefield were last week.

Steve McNamara’s side will also be lifted by the knowledge their last win was against tonight’s opponents at Magic Weekend, when Tony Gigot’s late drop goal steered them home in a 25-18 success.

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The Challenge Cup holders have been inundated with injury issues of late and have seen prop Sam Moa (broken wrist) and fellow forward Jason Baitieri (foot) added to the long-term absentee list.

Still, they are boosted by the return from injury of the influential Gigot as well as Leeds-born former England hooker Micky McIlorum and back-row forwards Matt Whitley and Kenny Edwards.

Chester has urged his side not to go into “holiday” mode given their extended stay in Perpignan – a lot of teams now fly in and out on the same day – and has reminded them of the importance of this looming contest.

“We’re two points off fourth after a crazy five or six weeks when things hadn’t been going particularly well,” he said.

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“We said then we’ve got nine or 10 cup finals and that’s how we need to treat these next eight league games.”

Catalans were up to third before dropping amid this slump and Wakefield will go above them if they do win tonight.

Centre Joe Arundel is back in Chester’s plans after nearly three months out with a pectoral injury while ex-Leeds Rhinos winger Ben Jones-Bishop will play his 200th Super League game.

Dragons’ former Wigan and England full-back Sam Tomkins is set for his 300th career appearance with the 30-year-old seeking an urgent revival for his side.