St Helens coach Kristian Woolf says he’s pleased with the progress of Matty Lees as the countdown to the start of the club’s title defence continues.
The 21-year-old England Knights forward missed the closing stages of last season – and a place in the Great Britain performance squad – because of a perforated bowel that required surgery.
Lees, who picked up the injury during the win at Leeds in mid-August, returned to full training before Christmas.
And Woolf is pleased by his progress, saying the Rochdale Mayfield product has had to be held back for his own good.
“He is such a tough fella, he was ready to do contact straight away,” said Woolf.
“But we wanted to make sure he had recovered physically and had put a bit of weight back on, so we held him back a bit.”
Woolf, speaking to the St Helens Star, said ex-Sheffield loan player Lees, who made 27 Saints appearances last season, is still bulking up.
“It will take time, but he is coming on well and takes a diligent approach,” he added.
“You don’t want him to put on to much weight in too short a period of time, because that usually affects other things.
“If you try to do it too quickly, it tends not to be good weight. To be the right type of weight, it has to be a gradual process.”
Saints have fixed up a pre-season meeting with newly-promoted Championship side Oldham at the Vestacare Stadium on Saturday (7.30).
It comes the day before Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook’s testimonial against London Broncos at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Those are the only games before the first Super League clash at home to Salford on Friday, January 31.