Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell has challenged his middle forwards to step up after confirming that key man Andy Lynch will be out of action for up to three months.
The ever consistent Lynch suffered a broken leg and syndesmosis injury during the second half of last Sunday’s narrow defeat to St Helens and faces a long haul back to full fitness following an operation he was due to undergo yesterday.
Powell described his loss as a big blow, but is looking to the other prop forwards at the club to take on the leader’s role in the absence of his most experienced player.
He told the Express: “Andy Lynch is pretty consistent and you expect him to come up with a strong performance every week. He does a hell of a lot of work.
“He’s going to be a big loss for us, to lose a player who does 65, 70 minutes every week in the middle of the field.
“Some of our other middle unit players are going to have to step up and take some of the big minutes on that Lynchy does.
“It’s a tough injury for Andy and he’s having an operation. He’s got a syndesmosis and a leg break and the operation will repair the syndesmosis.
“He’ll be out a fair while, 10 to 12 weeks potentially. But Andy Lynch, like Michael Shenton, tends to come back from things before you expect.
“He’ll get his operation done and then we’ll see from there, but hopefully he will be able to play again this season.”
Powell is hoping to have at least one of the players who missed the St Helens game to be back from injury for this Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie against Salford Red Devils and will check on a number of others before deciding his line-up.
He said: “Junior Moors should be okay. He passed his head test on Monday morning – it was a little bit frustrating that one.
“With Jake Webster we’re not sure. He pulled out late with a hip problem. It seems to have settled down a little bit, but we’ll have to see as we roll through the week.
“Larne Patrick we’re not sure either. He picked up an ankle injury in his first game for us.
“We’ll check on a couple of other guys as we go through the week, but we’ll certainly get Junior back in there, which will be handy.”
Castleford will not be able to call on new loan signing Paddy Flynn as he is cup tied, but have Greg Minikin available after the young centre played for Batley Bulldogs last Sunday as part of a new dual registration deal with the Championship club.
Powell explained: “Greg Minikin will stay with us this week. I don’t want anybody to be cup tied.
“He played pretty well at Batley last week. I spoke to John Kear and he gave him a fair pat on the back so it will be good for him to have got another game under his belt.
“It’s pretty important to get games for your players. Tom Holmes and Kieran Gill played for Oxford last week and went over to Toulouse. Ryan Boyle was due to play for Batley, but had to pull out with a calf injury.
“Players need to be playing. It’s very hard for them to come back in when they haven’t played at all for a period of time so the dual contract is pretty important when you don’t have a reserve team.”