Castleford tigers look set to turn to youth at Wigan this Saturday after head coach Daryl Powell described the team as being down to “bare bones” player wise.
The Tigers were already without eight players for their trip to France to play Catalans Dragons on Monday and lost Nathan Massey in the build-up to the game then Michael Shenton and Junior Moors during the match itself.
Massey is in contention to return to action at Wigan’s DW Stadium, but with none of the other sidelined players expected to recover in time Cas will be travelling over the Pennines with a squad including a number of inexperienced players.
Tigers boss Powell explained: “Michael Shenton’s got an ankle injury that will get a scan, but it doesn’t look great. Junior Moors got a nasty challenge on a line break he made and he doesn’t look great either. All we can do with both of them is keep our fingers crossed they are not as bad as we fear.
“There’s some more scans coming up for Jesse Sene-Lefao, Oliver Holmes and Alex Foster. None of them are looking great and we’ll get some more detail on them in the next few days.
“We are not getting a lot of good news at the moment that’s for sure.
“Matt Cook looks a little more favourable and we’ll just have to wait and see when we get the more detailed information in the next week.
“We’ve got none of these players coming back for this Saturday. Potentially Nathan Massey may be okay after he had to miss the Catalans game, but we are down to bare bones.
“It’s a tough situation and I said to the players straight after Monday’s game ‘you have got to stay positive, pull together and keep working hard’.
“We’ve just got to be realistic with what we’ve got and we have to find a way of playing that suits us and gets us wins.”
Recently signed Australian centre Cheyse Blair will bolster the Tigers’ squad, but Powell is unsure when he will arrive.
He said: “I’ve got no information on when Cheyse will get here. Obviously it’s been Easter and everything’s closed up. Hopefully we will get some information and hopefully it will be either this week or the week after, but I am not absolutely certain on that.
“We’re not going to have the luxury of him being able to take time to get up to speed. He’s a very good player and he’ll hopefully pick things up pretty quickly. We are going to need him out on the field. Hopefully he’s in good shape when he gets over here and I look forward to seeing him pull on a Cas shirt.”
Saturday’s opponents Wigan have also got a number of injuries, but Powell expects them to be a big threat on their own patch.
He added: “When we played them the other week they were pretty low in terms of their pack. But whoever plays it will be a tough game for us having to go over there.
“A Saturday game straight after Easter – not sure who’s idea that was, but there you go. We’ve just got to go there and put in a performance to get some points.
“It’s always a tough game the one straight after Easter, but we’ll have some youth in there, some energy about us and we will go there and try to get after them.
“Wigan away is always a tough game and we are going to need to be good.
“It’s not long since we played them so we know a fair bit about them.
“Their left edge is very strong and they caused us a lot of trouble last time we played them. We need to be good on our right side.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us. They’ve good players all over, but particular in their outside backs and George Williams at half-back.”