ALMOST a year to to day since he played his last game Richard Owen is set to pull on a Castleford Tigers shirt again.
The talented teenage full-back (pictured) has faced a tough 12 months since breaking his leg in two places against Bradford Bulls at Odsal on February 19, 2010 and then picking up an infection that hampered his recovery.
But after working hard to regain fitness he is finally set to play again and is in line to step out for the under 20s in their game against Wigan on Sunday.
Head coach Terry Matterson is delighted to see his young star back in the reckoning.
He said: “We’re pretty confident Richard Owen’s going to be able to play in the reserve grade match at Wigan. We’ll leave the decision until Friday night, but it’s looking good for him to play on Sunday.
“He’s ahead of schedule. We weren’t expecting to play so soon this season so it’s a real bonus.
“He’s been doing full contact with the team for quite a while now and this is going to make a big difference for him.
“He’s gone through a tough mental thing in his life and I’m really pleased for him that he’s ready to play again.
“Nothing surprises me with Richie so I wouldn’t be surprised that after one game he will be in line for selection for the first team, that’s the sort of player he is.
“I’m not going to put any pressure on him. We’ll have a look at him this week and go from there.”
Castleford’s under 20s side is also set to feature Samoan centre Willie Isa, who has been selected in the 19-man squads for the opening two Super League matches, but has yet to make his senior team competitive debut since his move from Melbourne Storm.
Matterson has been keen to allow the 21-year-old time to acclimatise to English conditions after only arriving over here last month, but is keeping a keen eye on his progress.
He added: “Willie Isa is settling in well. We’re just working on a few things in his game and he’ll get more experience in the 20s this week at Wigan. We’ll see where he’s at then.
“Those guys have got to force their way into the team at the moment and there’s only one way to do that - play better than the guys in there.”