Centres out of opener

CENTRE contenders Lee Paterson and Jon Goddard have lost their fitness races ahead of Saturday night’s Co-operative Championship opener in Toulouse.

Paterson, the top points scorer outside Super League last season, has been out of action with an ankle injury sustained in the Northern Rail Cup win over Oldham three weeks ago.

The former Swinton and Rochdale back had been tipped to make the cut for the trip to France, but boss Matt Calland has confirmed he will be leaving the goal-kicking threequarter at home.

“Lee’s really close, but he’s not going to be ready in time,” said Calland, who is likely to stick with the centre pairing of Dylan Nash and James Haley, who started last weekend’s 76-6 Challenge Cup thrashing of Lock Lane.

“He trained with us this week but he’s pulled up a bit sore and it’s not worth the risk.

“All being well, we are hoping he will be fit for Whitehaven next Wednesday.”

Goddard’s situation is slightly different as the Doncaster-based player is a long term absentee after snapping his Achilles tendon last August.

The former Hull KR man had targeted early March on his comeback schedule - and is training with his teammates - but Calland is unwilling to take any risks after such a serious injury.

“We are holding Jon back a little bit,” said the Fax boss, who will name a full squad before the team flies out to France tomorrow.

“He’s such a freak in terms of his training, fitness and the way he looks after himself we know he will be ready to play soon.

“But he has been getting sore after training and after such a long rehab we are not taking any chances.

“The longer we hold him back, the sharper he will be when he plays.”

St Helens’ injury worries grew when back row forward Jon Wilkin damaged a calf while training with England.