Castleford Tigers boss Ian Millward will check on the fitness of Jordan Tansey before naming his line-up for Sunday’s Super League opener.
Former Leeds and Hull man Tansey has still to play for the Tigers after a calf injury ruled him out of the pre-season games, but may be pressed into making his debut following an injury to Kirk Dixon that is likely to see the goal kicking winger out of action for six weeks.
Tansey is likely to be included in the initial 19-man squad to give him every chance to play with Millward hopeful the player can shake off his knock, but he will turn to inexperienced youngster James Clare if Tansey misses out.
Elsewhere in the team, Millward will be picking from strength with no other new injuries and will decide whether to throw in prop Keith Mason after the former Huddersfield forward returned to training after injury this week.
Millward explained: “Kirk Dixon’s out with a calf muscle injury. It’s quite a serious tear and he’s out for six weeks.
“It’s a big loss because he’s our goal kicker and he’s also very well respected in the group.
“He was out for seven months with a neck injury and was out for six months previously with a shoulder injury so I really feel sorry for the kid.
“We’re not sure who will replace him yet because Jordan Tansey’s a bit of a doubt coming back from injury. Our other alternative is James Clare, but we’re hoping Jordan will be all right. He hasn’t played a pre-season game, but he’s trained this week and I’m feeling positive about his chances.
“I’d like to pick him on the wing and keep Richie Owen at full-back because he’s been playing there the last couple of weeks.
“Keith Mason’s declared himself fit for the first game and we’ll pick him in the 19 and have a look at him during the week.
“Steve Nash is still out with a leg injury, but out of our squad of 24 we’ve only got three out – Steve, Kirk Dixon and Charlie Martin, who’s been out with a long term injury.
“We don’t want too many more out, though. If we got more injuries we would have to loan someone in because we haven’t got a big squad and our younger group below is not ready for first grade.”
Millward knows his side need to hit the ground running, but faces a difficult start against a Warrington side he rates as potential champions.
He added: “I went to see Warrington play last weekend and they absolutely monstered Wigan. I was really impressed with them.
“I can see Warrington winning Super League or the Challenge Cup. They’ve got the best squad and I think this is the year that they need to utilise all the experience they have in the squad.
“They’ve not got any inclusions because of how strong they already were. That’s why they can hit the ground running, it’s like a glove and they can just put it back on.”
“It’s a bit scary the players they are going to have to drop to get their best 17 on the field. But technically we’ve only got one from our squad unavailable who would genuinely have been in our 17 so we go there with confidence that we can give Warrington a good game.”