Tigers are hit by half-back crisis

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CASTLEFORD Tigers have major half-back problems ahead of Sunday’s Super League clash against Hull Kingston Rovers at Craven Park.

With Rangi Chase set to sit out the last match of his suspension and his stand-off replacement, Ryan McGoldrick (pictured), about to begin his two-match ban, Cas look like being hit by a triple hammer blow with skipper Danny Orr rated extremely doubtful to play because of injury.

Cas boss Ian Millward initially thought his scrum-half would be able to recover from the injury he picked up against Widnes when Ben Cross came right the back of him in an attempt to catch the ball and caught the Tigers star with a knee into the lower back area.

But he told the Express that Orr was struggling to shake off the effects and was a likely absentee at Craven Park.

“Danny Orr’s very, very doubtful with his back injury. I’ll be very surprised if he plays.

“It’s obviously a big problem as we’ve got Rangi Chase and Ryan McGoldrick out. They would have come in for Danny, but they can’t play so I’m not sure yet what we’ll do.

“We can look at playing the young hookers at half-back, but it wasn’t very successful against Warrington. We have got to consider whether to recall Ben Johnson from York or Ryan Brierley from Leigh.

“We can call both of them back as they are both on dual contracts and it is something we may have to look at. We will look at all our options.”

Castleford will also be without back row forward Steve Snitch, who has picked up an injury, as well as long term absentee Joe Arundel, while Paul Jackson is fit again, though unlikely to play.

But goalkicking outside back Kirk Dixon will be in the squad despite a knee injury preventing him from taking kicks in the last game against Widnes and leading to him being substituted.

Millward explained: “We’re very confident Kirk Dixon should be fit to play after he had knee problems and wasn’t able to do the kicking in the last game.

“Paul Jackson is available for selection, but we think it’s a little bit early for him and he won’t come into the reckoning.

“He’s been out a long time. He played his first game back in the under 20s last weekend and came through it fine, but it was his first in a long, long time so we’re taking it one step at a time with him.

“Steve Snitch is out with an ankle injury and unfortunately he’s not available, but everyone else is all right.”

Whoever ends up in the 17-man squad, the players should not lack confidence that they can get the job done against a Hull KR side they beat 34-30 at the Probiz Coliseum in March, according to Millward.

He added: “Everyone’s looking forward to the game.

“It’s a pretty good month for us and we’re looking to get some momentum after the win over Widnes. We’ve got some teams we can play and we’re looking to get some consistency into our play.

“It would be nice to beat Hull KR home and away. Obviously I would like some of my halves in, but you play with the cards you’re dealt and we’ll see how we go.

“We played well against them last time and if we reproduce that then we’ll win.

“The biggest thing is going to be scoring tries because we will have different halves, but we want to defend as well as we did against Widnes and need our forwards to play well.

“Our kicking game was very poor last time and we’ve got to improve that. If we do that it will get us right in the match.

“But it will be tough, they are a good team. They’ve got Blake Green back and have two very good halves with Michael Dobson as well. They’re two very experienced halves, which is something we won’t have.”

Millward, meanwhile, confirmed that Cas have been watching Batley winger Alex Brown, but denied reports that terms had already been offered to him and team-mate Alex Walmsley.

He said: “Names are being thrown about, but we haven’t signed two Batley players.

“We have had a look at Alex Brown, but we haven’t done anything yet.

“Obviously we are short on outside backs and we’ve got to be looking in case we have to bring someone in.”

Castleford have been put on alert that their former star centre Michael Shenton could be unsettled at St Helens.

The England player still has more than a year to run on his contract, but with his team believed to be set to sign Hull FC’s Jordan Turner he could find his place in the Saints side under threat next year when he will be keen to lock down a regular place to push his claims for a place in the World Cup squad.

Hull KR are already showing an interest, but believe they would face stiff competition from Casteford if Shenton became available for 2013.