Widnes Vikings prop Jay Chapelhow is ahead of schedule in his recovery from an ankle injury, although he won’t be rushed back by coach Tim Sheens.
Chapelhow has yet to feature this season because of the injury, which is a similar problem to one he had last year.
Sheens explained: “Jay is out of his boot and moving around, which is a good sign, but we’re not putting an exact schedule on his comeback date.
“These injuries are usually eight weeks and we’re three weeks into that. If we had a schedule for him he’d be ahead of it.
“Hopefully it’ll be more like round six than round eight, but we won’t be pushing him back in too early.
“It’s unfortunate he’s missed the start of the season, but he’s raring to go and training well off his feet in the gym.
“His brother Ted is going well and there’s a bit of sibling rivalry there, so I’m sure he’s keen to get back on the field.”
Sheens has taken a pragmatic view of the Vikings’ opening reserve match of the season after they were well beaten by Wigan.
He said: “The results on that weekend showed that if you put a strong Super League club up against a Championship one, then you’re probably going to get some points put on you.
“I’m not prepared to make too much of it at this early stage, and one of their players was probably on more money than the whole of our team put together.
“They had guys like Joe Bullock, Mitch Clark, Joe Greenwood and Joe Shorrocks, who have all played a lot of first grade, so it was an uneven balance.
“We were also a little underdone, with a few injuries to senior guys, but we’ll wait and see how the competition settles down.”
FEATHERSTONE ROVERS coach James Webster has backed Louis Jouffret to make the most of his chance in the coming weeks.
The French international joined the club from rivals Batley in the close-season, but missed out on selection for the opening game against his former club.
But scrum-half Dane Chisholm has now started a three-match suspension and Webster believes Jouffret can step up in his absence.
Webster said: “Louis did well in pre-season, but he understood that there were two good players in front of him in Callum McLelland and ‘Chizzy’.
“He can also play fullback, which is a great aspect to his game, but we had Craig Hall there too, so it’s hard to break past those three.
“But with ‘Chizzy’ now suspended, he’s got three weeks to get a chance and he will play a lot for us this year.”
Webster’s squad was again stretched by injuries in training last week, with long-term quartet Dale Ferguson, John Davies, Thomas Minns and Jack Render all still sidelined.
Forwards Ferguson and Davies could be the first back into action in March and Webster remains on the look-out for possible reinforcements.
He added: “We’re really light at the moment and if anyone becomes available we’d look at it, depending as always on finances.
“We’re not different to any other Championship club in reality; we’re all living week-to-week when it comes to injuries because we can’t afford to pay for players that aren’t playing.”
DEWSBURY RAMS boss Lee Greenwood looked set to use dual-registration for the first time in his coaching career at the weekend when Hull KR’s Matty Gee linked up with his squad.
However the scheduled game against Swinton was one of many that fell victim to the weather on Sunday.
Greenwood had been an opponent of the system in the past, but has been encouraged by the way it is already working with the Robins.
Five fringe Dewsbury players featured for Rovers’ reserve team on the opening weekend of their season in a move that is set to continue.
And Greenwood says that Gee has shown an enthusiasm that bodes well for the rest of the year.
The Rams coach said: “I think both of us have similar squads in many ways.
“Tony Smith has tried to recruit a younger squad with players looking for a chance and we’ve done the same kind of thing.
“What that means is that you have a lot of players that want to improve, whether that’s playing Super League, Championship or reserve grade.
“I think it will work well for us.”
With no reserves game at the weekend and Dewsbury’s other partner club playing in the Challenge Cup, the Rams’ fringe players did not get a run, but they are expected to this week.
Greenwood added: “We hope that between Hull KR’s reserves and Coventry, all of our players will get a run out.”
OLDHAM have continued their trend of re-signing former loan players with Wakefield prop Titus Gwaze set to spend the next month at the club.
The Roughyeds turned 2018 loanees Harry Aaronson and Declan Kay into permanent recruits, and recently signed Jimmy Beckett on loan from Featherstone for the season after he had a spell with the club last year.
Now Gwaze, who featured 14 times for Oldham last season, has returned from Super League side Trinity.
Coach Matt Diskin said: “We’ve been trying for a couple of months or so to get Titus back here and, having watched him (in a pre-season game) against Leeds, I can say that for a 20-year-old playing in the front-row he’s both explosive and dynamic.
“We’ve been working on this for a while and to finally get it over the line is very exciting.”
The Zimbabwe-born frontrower went straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Toulouse.
Gwaze said: “I need more first-team rugby at a good level and that’s why coming to Oldham on loan suits me and suits Wakefield.
“I loved it at Oldham last year and it should be even better this time in the Championship.
“I’m really looking forward to having a crack at Championship rugby with Oldham, where I know a lot of the boys from last year.”
Diskin had a further boost last week when X-ray results revealed that Danny Bridge’s dislocated thumb and James Worthington’s sore jaw were not broken.
Lewis Charnock’s knee injury, which he sustained against Widnes, was also not as bad as first feared.
LONDON BRONCOS coach Danny Ward says both Eloi Pelissier and Mitch Allgood could press their claims for a first-team place by featuring in the club’s relaunched reserves.
French international hooker Pelissier is nearing the end of his recovery from a broken arm, while Australian prop Allgood has just arrived from Down Under.
Both are nearing full fitness and Ward could use the second tier to ease them back into action.
Ward said: “Eloi might have a run in the reserves and it’s great for us to have that back-up now.
“He’s a quality player with plenty of experience, but he knows he’s got to earn his way back in and it’s the same for Mitch.
“He’s ready to play, but we don’t want to rush him because he’s not had much of a pre-season.
“He’s just been training on his own, so we’re getting some running in his legs and getting him used to the team environment and the surface here as well.
“We’ve given him a week or two’s mini pre-season and hopefully he’ll work his way in.”
Ward’s only other current injury concerns are Morgan Smith, who has a slight knee issue, and Sadiq Adebiyi, who sustained a minor chest complaint in the opening win at Bradford.
WHITEHAVEN have completed two key developments at their Recreation Ground home.
The club has repaired broken floodlights, and also opened a new club shop on the site.
A Haven statement read: “The club would like to give a huge thanks to B&H Motors for sponsoring the not inconsiderable cost of the new lights.
“Also a big thanks to A Plant for the plant supplied to effect the repairs.
“The club’s thanks also go out to club director Paul Shepherd and his son for the splendid job they have done. Also ground staff for their help.
“This is a great example of local business’ coming together with volunteers to make things happen.”
On the new club shop, Chairman Tommy Todd hailed the contribution of supporters Barrie Litt, Alan Charlton, Eric Lewthwaite and Peter Boyle.
Todd said: “These four guys have been instrumental in raising the cash to supply the shop. I can’t thank them enough.
“The shop has proved a huge success in only three games and has taken quite a tidy sum of money.
“It’s great when a project gets completed.
“It’s one of those much needed steps to bring a bit of sustainability to the club for now and the future.”
HALIFAX have been buoyed by the news that forward Ben Kavanagh does not require surgery as was first feared.
The former Widnes Vikings player suffered a dislocated hip in the pre-season win over Hull FC.
Kavanagh looked set to go under the surgeon’s knife, but director of rugby Ian Croad has confirmed that is not now necessary.
He could still miss two months of action, but will see a specialist again in four weeks’ time for an update.
Off the field the club will tonight (Monday) stage the draw for the fourth round of the Coral Challenge Cup at the Shay.
LEIGH CENTURIONS’ former coach Neil Jukes has returned to the club on a short-term basis as general manager.
Jukes led the Centurions to promotion in 2016, and the club only lost its Super League status the following season in the Million Pound Game against Catalans.
Jukes is now back at Leigh Sports Village in an off-field role that will also see him overlook a restructuring of the club.
The move comes after chief executive Matthew Chantler resigned from his position for personal reasons.
YORK CITY KNIGHTS’ triallist Josh Parker has returned to his amateur club York Acorn.
Parker has been struggling with a knee injury that the Knights will continue to help rehab, but it restricted his ability to impress.
Knights coach James Ford says he will be given another opportunity once he is fully fit.
York remain in talks with two other triallists, Lewis Brown and Harry Bardle, who featured for Ford’s side in pre-season.
TOULOUSE OLYMPIQUE hooker Lloyd White will this week discover whether his red card against York will be supplemented by a suspension.
The Welsh international was shown a red card in the season opener for kicking out at Knights centre Liam Salter on the hour mark.
Coach Sylvain Houles was again without three members of his squad through injury for Saturday’s clash with Oldham, in Anthony Marion, Ilias Bergal and Tony Maurel.
The club used the game to offer free tickets to students in the city as part of a French holiday at the weekend.
SWINTON LIONS would have gone into Sunday’s clash with Dewsbury Rams with a fully fit squad, hd the game not been called off due to Storm Ciara hitting Britain.
Coach Stuart Littler had no injury concerns in the wake of the opening weekend win at promoted Whitehaven.
The situation has also meant that the Lions are yet to use their dual-registration partnership with Wigan so far this season.
The Lions have used the link regularly in past seasons and it is again available to them in 2020.