Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell admitted it has been a challenging pre-season to negotiate so far, but all the players are now back in training in some form.
The Tigers have struggled to have a full complement in training as they have had to contend with injuries to several players and others coming back gradually after undergoing operations.
However, head coach Powell is pleased with the way things are progressing and hopeful that only Luke Gale, Oliver Holmes and Will Maher are doubts to be fit in time to start the 2019 Super League campaign
He told the Express: “The players have been good. It’s been pretty challenging for them in different ways at different times, but their attitude’s been great all the way through.
“Obviously Christmas is a really tough, awkward period from a training perspective because the players are going to let their hair down a little bit, Christmas is a huge part of our culture.
“It breaks up your training and the players will have three days off over Christmas and then we get back into it. For all of us it gives us a bit a breather and we can reflect on things that have happened over the year – and we are into it then, it comes on us pretty quick after that.
“All the players are back in now. Adam Milner and Oli Holmes were the last two back in after playing in internationals. They went on the camp last week and came in straight after that.
“We’ve got a couple of injuries and had a bit of illness that’s been flying around a bit, but everybody’s back in training.”
On the injuries that have been picked up or are ongoing, Powell explained: “Will Maher picked up an injury first day, but that is part and parcel of it when you are training hard. When you are lifting pretty heavy weights you are going to have some casualties.
“With Oli Holmes it’s an ongoing thing from last year. It’s disappointing, but he needed to get it fixed.
“Both players will be out for a period and are working hard to get themselves back as soon as they can.
“It’s been a tough injury for Luke Gale. Obviously he missed a fair chunk of last season and the operation he had wasn’t as successful as we’d hoped so he’s had to have it done again.
“He’s pretty good at the moment and is working hard to get back, but the likelihood is he will miss the start of the season.
“Jake Trueman is not in full training yet, but he is doing pretty much everything. Alex Foster’s done most and, again, he’s just getting back into it.
“We’ve got some players who had operations at the back end of last year who are just getting back into training now.
“Ben Roberts has had a couple of bits and pieces he’s missed some sessions with, as has Junior Moors and Jesse Sene-Lefao so we’ve had some casualties over the pre-season so far. But that’s the way it goes. You are training pretty severe over this period and you are going to get a few people who miss a few sessions here and there.”