Castleford could be without half-back pair for Wigan trip

Ben Roberts.
Ben Roberts.

Castleford Tigers are hoping to have Luke Gale back in their side for the Betfred Super League semi-final despite the star half-back being hospitalised this week.

The 29-year-old – who this week won the Albert Goldthorpe Medal – underwent an appendix operation on Tuesday after experiencing pain the previous evening.

He is obviously out of action for this Sunday’s game at Wigan and could be ruled out for the rest of the season, but the club is hoping he can make a speedy recovery to get back on the field.

“We don’t know what’s going to be the full extent, it depends on the operation,” Tigers head coach Daryl Powell told the Express.

“We’re hopeful of getting him back to play in the play-off game, but I would think that would be the soonest he would be available.

“He’s not out for the season yet, but there is potential that could happen.

“He’s an outstanding player and has been awesome again for us this year so clearly you don’t want to be losing one of your best players.

“But we don’t know that’s going to happen yet, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Castleford could also be without Gale’s half-back partner, Ben Roberts, for the trip to Wigan after he has picked up a hamstring injury.

Powell explained: “Benny Roberts has had a scan, he’s got a little bit of damage in his hamstring. We thought it was coming from his back, but it’s in his tendon.

“It’s not a muscle problem so it’s not major, but we will have to make a late call on him this week.

“It’s given us a selection problem for this week certainly, but it is what it is, we will get on with it.

“Jake Trueman and Tom Holmes would be the next players in line and they are both very good young players.

“Jake’s had a little bit of experience while Tom’s played quite a few games at Super League level so if they were needed then they will step into the breach.

“They’ve trained in there this week and done a pretty good job so they’ll work through the week and see where we are.”

Castleford have had some good news on the injury front with Zak Hardaker fine after suffering a knee injury against Leeds Rhinos and forwards Oliver Holmes and Matt Cook expected to be fit for Sunday’s game. But there are doubts over props Junior Moors (facial injury) and Andy Lynch (groin), with Powell to make a late call on both.