Back row forward Frankie Mariano is in line to return to the Castleford Tigers first team after proving his fitness in a spell with Batley Bulldogs.
Tigers assistant coach Danny Orr revealed that after a battle with injuries in the last two years the strong running Mariano was looking sharp in training and was in contention for a squad place against Salford Red Devils on Friday night.
The 29-year-old former Wakefield Wildcats forward played only five games last season due to wrist surgery and a knee reconstruction and, after a setback earlier this year, has managed just one appearance for Cas in 2016.
But Mariano has played several games on dual-registration with Batley and was one of their best players in their 18-16 Championship win over Dewsbury Rams last Sunday.
Orr said: “Frankie played well for Batley so he could come into contention.
“It will be good to have him back. He’s about six foot, three and looks about 28 stone! He looks massive.
“He’s back fit, he’s training, he’s trimmed off a bit of weight, he’s carrying himself well, looks a lot fitter and he’s a lot more mobile.
“When he plays he’s a handful, I wouldn’t really want to tackle him when he’s coming at you.
“He’s showed that when he’s played. I think he was probably the best player on the field in the games he played last year. Unfortunately he got another injury and it’s really slowed him down.
“If he can get a couple of back to back games together you will really see him kick on.
“It’s been tough for Frank, but it’s part of the game and you have to deal with it and get on with it.
“He should potentially get an opportunity this week or maybe the week after and we’ll see how he goes.”