McDermott: Rhinos ready for Easter challenge

Leeds Rhinos’ boss Brian McDermott believes his side are in good shape to handle the challenge of the Easter weekend, despite the setback of losing Jimmy Keinhorst and Carl Ablett to injury.

Keinhorst has had an operation on ligaments in his hand, while Ablett is set for surgery on his knee on Good Friday.

The Rhinos visit Hull on Friday, before hosting Widnes on Monday and McDermott is confident his squad can cope with the busy schedule.

“It’s disappointing for Jimmy and Carl to be out – hopefully when Carl has his operation it will not be as bad as first feared, but Jimmy’s injury is a little more sinister,” said McDermott.

“The best case scenario is that Jimmy is out for ten to twelve weeks and Carl is no more than eight weeks, but it’s a shame for both players as they have been in great form.

“We’ll need to shuffle things around a bit, but hopefully not too much. We’re still missing Brad Singleton and Brett Ferres through suspension, which has stretched us in the back row, but hopefully we can handle things.”

McDermott has welcomed Stevie Ward and Keith Galloway back into his squad for the Hull game, while youngsters Mikolaj Oledzki, Jordan Baldwinson and Jordan Lilley all return from loan spells.

Although Leeds were defeated last weekend at Warrington, McDermott says his players are still upbeat heading into the Easter programme.

“The squad is in great shape – a huge amount of effort and commitment went into the Warrington game and I came away from that match knowing that we have a tough group,” he said.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have the offensive consistency last week to get the win, but we are not downhearted after that loss.”

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