LONG-TERM CASUALTY Tom Briscoe is set to return for Leeds Rhinos on Friday, if he gets through training this week.
Briscoe has not played since suffering a shoulder injury in Rhinos’ first defeat of the season, at Warrington Wolves on March 13.
The former Hull man underwent surgery and has missed 18 games, but trained fully last week and is in coach Brian McDermott’s plans for the visit of Salford Red Devils in four days’ time.
“The likelihood is I will stand Ash Handley down and put Tom Briscoe in,” McDermott confirmed. “But that’s not an easy decision. When Tom left us he was in outstanding form, he was probably our best player at that stage of the year.
“How he was playing was brilliant and he is tried and tested. I don’t know if deserves is the right word, but he deserves to come in where he left off.”
Teenager Handley has played throughout Briscoe’s layoff and McDermott added: “But that is a really harsh call on Ash Handley, who has been very good.
“Very good because he has handled it, rather than being brilliant every single week.
“He has taken his chance really well, but to keep a young man in there week after week, it starts to take its toll.
“I have talked to Ash about this. He can hold his head high and be proud of the job he has done.”
Jamie Jones-Buchanan is also in contention to play on Friday, after a hamstring problem.
Mitch Garbutt missed last week’s defeat at Wigan due to a back strain, but is also likely to be in contention.