LUCKLESS second-row Frankie Mariano hopes to make his Super League return for Castleford Tigers on Friday night.
The ex-Wakefield Trinity Wildcats forward has endured an injury-plagued two years at Wheldon Road.
He played just five games last term due to wrist surgery and a knee reconstruction and, after various setbacks, has managed just one appearance this time around at Warrington in March.
However, Mariano, 29, featured on dual-registration with Batley Bulldogs in their 18-16 Championship win over Dewsbury Rams on Sunday to push his claims for a Castleford recall.
Ahead of Friday’s game at Salford Red Devils, Castleford assistant coach Danny Orr said: “Frankie played played well for Batley so he could come into contention.
“He should potentially get an opportunity this week or maybe the week after and we’ll see how he goes.
“He’s back fit, he’s training, he’s trimmed off a bit of weight, he’s carrying himself well, looks a lot fitter and he’s a lot more mobile.
“When he plays he’s a handful – he was probably the best player on the field those few times he did play last year – but unfortunately he got another injury and it’s really slowed him down.
“If he can get a couple of back to back games together you will really see him kick on.”
Orr says Greg Minikin, the ex-York City Knights centre, could retain his place having come in at the last-minute to replace injured Jake Webster during Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat away at Wigan Warriors.
Webster had a scan on his hamstring injury yesterday and Orr said: “If he’s not right, Greg’s probably in there and probably deservedly so; I think he was our best player.
“He’s got a load of potential and playing against some quality players like at Wigan will do him the world of good.”