Shenton set for Boxing Day return

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Castleford Tigers captain Michael Shenton has revealed he will be making his comeback from the serious knee injury that robbed him of almost an entire season on Boxing Day, as he looks to put the “worst year ever” to bed in a positive manner.

Shenton was helped from the field in Castleford’s opening game of the 2016 season at Hull KR after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out of the whole campaign.

However, he told League Express that their first pre-season match on Boxing Day against Hull FC is the date he’s earmarked for his comeback. And he insists he can’t wait to get back onto the field.

“I’ll be playing, don’t worry about that,” Shenton told League Express.

“I need to try that pitch out at Castleford, because it’s been a while, but I can’t wait to play now.

“Daryl (Powell) will put a reasonably strong team out and I’ve just got to get back out there and play rugby again after having put the hard work in for the last year.

“It’s a nice way of looking at it that I can play after the worst year ever. I’m glad it’s against someone like Hull, too, because it’ll be a tough game. I can’t wait.”

Shenton admits that he felt able to feature for the club at the back end of last season, but concedes that Daryl Powell made the right decision to hold him back.

“I was putting my hand up as I got back quicker than anticipated,” he said.

“I was pretty much ready to go and I had no setbacks. I targeted the last four games after the Challenge Cup final.

“But after we lost to Warrington, it took us out of the race for the top four, so we decided not to risk it. Looking back, that was absolutely the right thing to do.”

And Shenton believes that after two fifth-placed finishes in 2015 and 2016, the Tigers can break the monopoly at the top of Super League and crack into the top four.

“I think we’ve got the ability to do that,” he said.

“We shown we’re mentally tough and although we need a bit of luck, I believe we can do that and make the top four. We should be really competitive in every single game we play in.

“We’ve got big names signing up, our top stars committing to long-term deals and, with guys like Zak Hardaker coming in, there’s some real quality on our roster.”