Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell has revealed he is down to his last fit 13 men on the training paddock as he prepares for Sunday’s game against Warrington – whilst also confirming Nathan Massey’s season will be over next week.
Powell continues to be hindered by injuries as he looks to mount a mid-season assault on the top four, and told TotalRL on Wednesday that he had a staggering 19 of his 32-man first-team squad unable to train as they prepare for the visit of the Wolves this weekend.
“We had 19 unable to train today out of a 32-man squad; we haven’t got a lot of people on the training field at the moment,” he said to TotalRL.
“However those 13 guys looked really great, I can guarantee that! It’s tough at the moment and most teams are in that predicament so we can’t sit and mope.”
And with none of his injured troops likely to return, it increases the chances of one of those 13 men, new signing Rangi Chase, potentially making his second debut on Sunday – although Powell remained coy on that prospect.
Powell admitted that Chase has looked in good touch on the training field – and when asked if he was fitter than he was seven days ago, the Castleford coach said that was not a difficult thing for the former Man of Steel to achieve given his recent break from the sport.
“He was in the mix last week as he was in the squad so he’ll be in the squad again,” he said.
“Whether I pick him or not depends on how he goes through the week. It wouldn’t be hard for him to look fitter than he did last week – he’d just got off sitting on the couch for three weeks!
“He’s looked sharper again as the week as gone on; he’s done some physical sessions and he’s looked great with the ball: he’s looked in good nick.”
And Powell also confirmed that loose forward Massey’s season will be over after the regular season, as he has finally succumbed to a wrist problem which has plagued him all year, meaning he now needs surgery.
“He’ll have the op after we’ve played Wakefield,” he said.
“He won’t play this week but he’ll have it after the last regular season game and as a result he will miss the rest of the season.
“He needs his scaphoid taking out, it’s an injury he’s suffered with all year and he’s battled on with injections in his wrist so he’s been a real warrior when he’s needed to be.”
Only Paddy Flynn has a chance of returning – but Powell admitted it would be hard to leave loanee Ryan Hampshire out following his two-try heroics against Catalans last week.