Wakefield Wildcats v Leeds Rhinos: Brian Smith can help lift fans’ spirits at Wakefield, says Dickens

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STUART DICKENS hopes incoming Wakefield Trinity Wildcats coach Brian Smith can invigorate everyone at the club – and that includes their downtrodden fans.

They haven’t had much to cheer of late given they have lost 13 successive Super League games ahead of tomorrow’s West Yorkshire derby with Leeds Rhinos.

Stuart Dickens. Picture: Tony Johnson

Stuart Dickens. Picture: Tony Johnson

But Smith, the much-respected Australian who flew in this week to succeed James Webster, will be at Belle Vue tomorrow ready to bring some of his knowledge and experience to bear.

Caretaker coach Dickens, in charge for his third game, admitted: “I’ve really looked forward to him coming.

“I’m hoping get a bit of buzz about the place again not just for the players but so we get more fans in, too, and give them something to shout about.

“I’d imagine he (Smith) won’t know too much about most of our players so it’s their job to go out, impress him and show what they are about.

“I’ll be picking the team this week. We trained Wednesday and Thursday so I know in my head what the team is going to be.

“We’ll tell the players Saturday morning and he won’t have any influence on this week but he’ll be down at training Saturday.”

Dickens, meanwhile, fears his team will get blown away if errors or indiscipline give Rhinos an overwhelming share of possession.

“One thing we’ve struggled with all year is the amount of ball we’ve had,” he said, as the leaders arrive. “At the end of last Sunday’s game against Castleford they had had 11 more sets than us.

“The general trend that’s happened is the other team have had somewhere between eight and 14 more sets than us.

“There’s been a couple of remarks made about the fitness of the players. If you look at our fitness results, they are no different to any other club’s.

“But when a team’s having 10, 12 or 14 sets more than you, that has a massive effect on how you play the game.”

Dickens admitted: “To give ourselves a chance, we need to try and go set-for-set.”

New signing Stuart Howarth is set to feature for Wildcats and Craig Hall, Chris Annakin, Joe Arundel and Ben Kavanagh could return, with Scott Anderson (concussion), Reece Lyne (hamstring) and Dean Collis dropping out.