Excited Joe Wardle expects tomorrow’s Huddersfield clash against Leeds at the John Smith’s Stadium to be another top-quality derby duel – despite its shock billing as a basement battle.

The West Yorkshire rivals head into the contest with the Giants bottom and the Rhinos second bottom at the halfway stage of the regular Super League XXI season.

That’s in stark contrast to the final game of last year’s regular campaign when Ryan Hall’s last-second try handed Leeds the League Leaders shield and potentially denied the Giants the chance to collect the silverware.

Huddersfield Giants face Super League showdown at Wigan after loss to Leeds Rhinos

However, even though the nature of tomorrow’s tussle is completely different, Wardle is still gearing up to be part of a mouth-watering encounter.

“We’ve been involved in some great battles with Leeds in recent years,” said Wardle.

“And I think this game will be no different.

“We’re both struggling this season and it hurts that it’s a bottom-of-the-table clash. It hurts us and it’ll hurt Leeds.

“But we’ve got to use that as an extra incentive on Friday night.

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“Just because we’re bottom of the table at the moment it doesn’t mean we’re not still a good side. You don’t become a bad team overnight.

Huddersfield Giants' Joe Wardle near the try line against Wigan First Utility Super League XXI Wigan v Huddersfield 21/04/16 (Pic by John Rushworth)

“We know that with a bit of luck and just a slight improvement in the way we’ve played over the last couple of weeks, we’ll beat Leeds and climb above them in the table.

“That would be a massive psychological boost for us.”

Wardle is again making his presence felt in the Giants second row, although the strike centre admits he found the going tough during last week’s 26-19 defeat at Wigan.

“I had tonsillitis last week, which meant I wasn’t able to train ahead of the Wigan game,” added the Scotland international.

“And I found it pretty tiring out there last week.

“But I feel a lot better this week, and I’m hoping to keep on improving the way I’m playing in the pack.

“I’m learning a lot out there on the right and the combinations are starting to come together, so I’m hoping we can build on that tomorrow night and can finally start to click into gear on a regular basis.”