HALIFAX front rower Sam Barlow is expected to do full-contact training with his teammates for the first time since undergoing close-season ankle surgery tonight, although Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup opener at Dewsbury (3.0) is expected to come too soon for the Scotland international.
Barlow, who allegedly attracted Super League interest from Hull KR last autumn, has missed his side’s entire pre-season programme after going under the knife before Christmas.
But coach Karl Harrison confirmed the former Fax junior, who also played for Huddersfield, Widnes and Sheffield before returning to his hometown club 18 months ago, was now in sight of a comeback.
“Barlow’s got the all clear from the specialist and he trained for the first time on Monday night,” said Harrison, who signed Wakefield prop Matt James on a month’s loan to cover for the absence of Barlow and Papua New Guinea forward Makali Aizue.
“He did all the running, although he didn’t do the contact stuff.
“We’ll try that tonight, see how he goes and take things from there.
“He’s obviously miles off in terms of fitness, because he hasn’t been able to do the work, which means that he’s not going to be an option for Dewsbury.
“He’s probably a couple of weeks away, in my opinion.
“If he goes well over the next 10 days he could play in the under 23s at Featherstone next Friday.
“Having him back will be huge. He gives us options in the forward pack that we haven’t got at the moment.”
Harrison was still waiting for the results of a scan on centre Mick Nanyn’s knee injury, while two more players - utility man Callum Casey and winger Rob Worrincy - are also poised to visit hospital as the club’s apparently endless early-season injury problems continue.
“Casey’s having a scan on his hamstring, Worrincy’s got a knee problem that stopped him training on Friday and Monday,” said Harrison.
“That’s as much as we know at the moment.”
Wigan will be without forward Liam Farrell for Saturday’s Stobart Super League clash against Leeds at the DW Stadium through suspension.
The back rower chose to make an early-guilty plea after being charged with a dangerous tackle on Huddersfield centre Leroy Cudjoe during his side’s opening 20-16 defeat last Sunday and was handed a one-match ban.
Farrell, who was also given a caution for use of the forearm on Huddersfield hooker Luke Robinson in the same match, became the first player to accept an early-guilty plea, thereby removing the need for a disciplinary hearing.
Salford expect to be without Wayne Godwin, their only experienced hooker, for up to two months with rib cartilage damage.
The former Castleford and Bradford player picked up the injury in the early stages of the Reds’ opening Stobart Super League defeat by Castleford at the new Salford City Stadium on Saturday and was taken to hospital in considerable pain.
“He’s out for a while,” said Salford coach Phil Veivers. “It’s probably worse than a break.”