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Warriors v Rhinos: Teams

Wigan and Leeds will both be eager to get back to winning ways when the reigning Super League champions host the Tetley's Challenge Cup winners on Friday night, live on Sky Sports.

While neither team can now claim the League Leaders' Shield following defeats in the last round of matches, points are still crucial in the battle to finish in the top four at the end of the regular season.

The Warriors have not tasted victory in the league since the end of July, a 14-14 draw away at Hull KR being followed up last Friday by a 24-10 reverse to Widnes.

Coach Shaun Wane knows his team cannot afford to slip up at home against the Rhinos, who while currently down in sixth place in the standings could actually overtake their opponents with a win at the DW Stadium.

"We've been dishing up some performances that are not acceptable but we seem to up our game when we're in these tough positions," Wane said.

"If we can finish fourth and win a Grand Final, I'd be happy with that. We've a huge challenge in these last two games because they're both good teams.

"I believe the Wigan-Leeds fixture now is just like Wigan-St Helens. It's always a feisty game, it means a lot to both teams.

"I have a lot of respect for Leeds - I played for them for three years - so I really enjoy this fixture and this one is a bit more special. They are a very experienced team who know what to do to win big games. They have some outstanding talent led by one of the best front-rowers in the world, Jamie Peacock, who is playing out of his skin."

Wigan lost at Headingley earlier this year but gained revenge by triumphing 18-14 in a seriously competitive meeting at Magic Weekend, with the Rhinos almost pulling off a monumental comeback having at one stage been 18-4 behind.

The home team received a boost in the week when Liam Farrell was found not guilty of a Grade B high tackle in the loss to the Vikings by the Rugby Football League's Disciplinary Panel, meaning he is free to face the Rhinos.

However Iain Thornley will be missing for Wigan after he suffered a serious knee injury in training, ruling the centre out for the rest of the season, and Ben Flower has been drafted into the 19-man squad at the expense of Scott Taylor.

Leeds, meanwhile, are without the suspended Joel Moon. The centre was shown a red card in the 13-12 defeat to St Helens at Headingley, meaning he will now miss the trips to Wigan and Hull.

Head coach Brian McDermott, who drafted in Jimmy Keinhorst to his squad in Moon's absence, believes his players will be eager to put to an end a three-match losing run in league action.

"While we lost last week and the last couple of league games before Wembley didn't go our way, I just know we thrive off the intensity and the nature of the playoffs," said coach Brian McDermott.

"Our players step up. I can't wait for them to start. Bring it on.

"It will be a big game at Wigan. They are a very competitive team. They've challenged for honours and won honours over the last two to three years, as have Leeds, and there'll be two teams desperate to climb the ladder to ensure we have a better route in the playoffs."

Watch Wigan v Leeds LIVE on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7.30pm on Friday night, or visit Sky Sports online to keep up to date with our Super League blog