Halifax threequarter Rikki Sheriffe looks likely to start Sunday’s Championship fixture against Workington at the Shay (3.0) in the centre after being recalled from his loan deal with Championship One outfit Keighley.
Sheriffe, the former London, Bradford and Newcastle Falcons back, has been with the Cougars since the start of the season after opting to play again after 15 months in retirement.
And with coach Richard Marshall losing centre Steve Tyrer (knee), Jacob Fairbank (ankle) and potentially Adam Robinson (wrist) for the showdown with the Cumbrians because of injuries sustained in the 32-24 win over Hunslet, Sheriffe seems certain of a place in Fax’s backline.
“We’ve brought Rikki back,” confirmed Marshall, who said he had asked partnership club Hull KR about possible reinforcements but that no one was available.
“He tells me he’s been playing okay and I noticed he was on the scoresheet for them last weekend.
“He’s been playing centre for them and I think that’s where he’ll play for us.
“We’ve had to make a lot of changes recently in the backline and I want to minimise the disruption now, so Rikki will just slot in there in place of Steve.
“It’s important for us to get a win this weekend, to back up what was a very courageous performance against Hunslet.
“Workington have their link with Wigan, so we’re not sure who’s going to turn up on the day, but they’ll be looking at this as a game they can be competitive in.”
The length of Tyrer’s absence is yet to be determined, although he looks likely to return quicker than Fairbank, the on loan, in form Huddersfield back rower.
“They’re both having scans, but Jacob’s not looking too good,” said Marshall, who now only has Cook Islands forward Adam Tangata and young hooker Keith Holden waiting in reserve as the queue for the treatment room lengthens.
“There’s a concern there might be a fracture, as well as some other damage, but we’ll know more by the end of the week.
“It’s hard on Jacob, because he’s had some injury setbacks in the last couple of years and he was playing well for us.
“Steve’s got some medial ligament damage and won’t play this week, but until we know what’s going on it’s hard to say whether that’s a two week injury or something more.”
With Sheriffe returning, Marshall will persist with the former Wigan player Chris Taylor alongside Scott Murrell at half back.
Ben Johnston, who missed the Hunslet game with a head injury, faces a mandatory rest.
“Ben took a knock in the first half at Bradford and was given clearance to continue by the doctor at half time,” said Marshall.
“But he felt dizzy at training on Sunday and at that point we had to stand him down for seven days, which rules him out of this game too.
“I’m all about winning matches, but not at the expense of player welfare, so Chris will play alongside Scott again.
“I thought he showed some nice touches and made some good decisions against Hunslet.
“At the moment, he’ll get first crack at that spot, so it’s up to him now.
“If he’s playing well, we won’t be going out chasing half backs.”