Castleford Tigers look likely to be without their “Mr Consistent” for the rest of the season with Oliver Holmes ruled out of action by a knee injury picked up in the last game against Huddersfield.
Back row forward Holmes has featured in every game for the Tigers this season, but will definitely not play in Sunday’s match at home to Warrington and is in danger of missing the remaining four games according to head coach Daryl Powell.
Cas will also be without prop forward Jonathan Walker for the Wolves game, but his knee injury is not considered to be as long term.
“There’s a couple out, but a couple in,” Powell told the Express.
“Jonny Walker and Olly Holmes won’t be available. But Keith Mason, who didn’t play last week, will come back into contention and Ryan Boyle, who was suspended last week, is also back.
“I’ve got to look at the whole effort against Huddersfield and there’ll be a couple of players’ positions up for grabs and I’ve got to give an opportunity to some players who deserve a chance.
“Potentially Olly could be out for the season, which is disappointing. He’s been playing real tough and aggressive and he’s a consistent performer.
“He’s good week in week out and it’s a bit of as blow for him, but it happens. It’s a tough contact sport and you are going to get injuries.
“If it is the rest of the season he’s out he can start his pre-season now and get stuck into it. It can be a great opportunity to develop physically for him.
“Jonny Walker could be out two or three weeks, we’ll wait and see how he progresses over the next week or so.
“We’ve also lost Ben Davies as it didn’t work out for him here. He just couldn’t stay on the field.
“He’s had a few injuries, which is disappointing for him, and he never really got going with us. That’s sometimes the way things work out and he’s gone to Halifax and I wish him all the best with it.
“Charlie Martin’s come back. He didn’t get an opportunity with the lack of games for Featherstone. The team played well against Halifax and they’ve got a couple of other players in on loan so it was decided to bring Charlie back.
“It’s not been good this year for players like Charlie. They’ve not had too much of an opportunity to play and it’s a mixture of not having a reserve team competition of any kind and our relationship with Keighley not working to our benefit to be honest.”
Powell is expecting another tough challenge from Sunday’s visitors to the Wish Communications Stadium with Warrington likely to be pumped up in a bid to quickly bounce back from their Challenge Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Hull last weekend.
He said: “Warrington are one of the best sides in the competition. They’ve got quality international players in most positions so it goes without saying that it is going to be a difficult game.
“But it’s one we are capable of winning if we play to our potential.
“Defensively we need to be outstanding as they challenge you all over the field. They put a lot of width on the ball and it’s an area we will need to improve based on our performance against Huddersfield on our edges. We have talked about this and we’ll be doing some work on it this week.
“We know it’s going to be a big challenge for us. We are going to need to start well because they come out fast.
“The key focus is on ourselves. We’ll have a good look at Warrington and see the strengths they have got, but if our performance is as good as it can be then we give ourselves a good opportunity.
“They were in a tough game in the Challenge Cup semi-final. They made a lot of errors and that hurt them, but they were still within a fraction of winning because they do defend exceptionally well. You need to be accurate with what you do with the ball against them.
“In some ways it was probably a poor result for us because they will be highly motivated.”