Liam Watts is ready to give Castleford Tigers a boost after returning to training ahead of Saturday’s game against Catalans Dragons in France.
Prop forward Watts has missed the last three games through injury, but was back in full training on Monday and set to return to the side to bolster Cas for a big challenge they face against a physical Dragons team that has found some form.
He could be joined by several other first teamers with head coach Daryl Powell hoping back rowers Oliver Holmes and Joe Wardle will be fit to travel.
Loose forward Adam Milner and winger Greg Eden are also on the way back, but face a race against time to recover from their injuries while winger Jy Hitchcox looks set to be sidelined after suffering a back injury in a dangerous tackle by Willie Isa in last Friday’s game against Wigan.
Head coach Daryl Powell told the Express: “Oli Holmes and Joe Wardle didn’t train on Monday, but maybe have a chance. I was happy with the back-rowers last week – Grant Millington and Junior Motors went really well so if those guys aren’t available then we know we are strong. But I’ll check as we get through the week.
“Liam Watts did train, though, and looked good and it would be good to have him back.
“Wattsy’s been excellent since he came here. He’s got a different skills set to the other big men we have and he’s a big player for us.
“We’ll check on Jy, but he landed on his back pretty badly. It was a terrible challenge actually.
Castleford had as many as 11 first team players missing, but still managed to beat Wigan last Friday and whatever side they put out in France Powell is confident he has the players that can do the job.
He said: “We beat Warrington recently with quite a few players missing and we’ve done it again in terms of depth of squad.
“When you look at the players who came into the squad it was Will Maher’s first game (this season), Mitch Clark’s second, James Green hadn’t played for a long time with us. Tuoyo Egodo was his first game of the season and you wouldn’t have known it with those players. It just shows we have so much about us. I just think it sets us up.
“We’re set up now for the remainder of the season. We’ve had some tough blows with Greg Minikin and Alex Foster getting injured long term, but it’s part of the game and we just have to get on with it.”
Powell and his team are travelling over to France today after changing from the idea of going on the day.
Powell explained: “It’s a little bit different this year.
“Generally we go on the day, which I’ve never been a fan of. So this time we go Thursday and have a little bit of a – not a mini pre-season as such but a change in environment and I think that’s great. It’s sunny here at the moment, but we’ll get acclimatised this week.
“Just that change in environment I think is great for the players.”