Wakefield Trinity handed timely injury boost ahead of Castleford Tigers derby date
WAKEFIELD TRINITY will be boosted by the return of up to four key players for this week’s derby at home to Castleford Tigers, coach Chris Chester says.
Trinity suffered their first defeat in four games when they were beaten 38-18 at Warrington Wolves on Friday.
Wakefield have not beaten Tigers since Chester took over as coach in 2016, but with Castleford on a four-game losing run in Betfred Super League, they will fancy their chances this week.
Castleford will have had an extra day to prepare, following their home defeat by Hull last Thursday, but Chester reckons getting influential players back can give his team a lift.
“It is a derby game and we’ve got to make sure we do the right things,” he stressed.
“It’s not ideal - another five day turnaround - but the good thing is we’ve got some fresh bodies to come back.”
England winger Tom Johnstone is still waiting to make his first appearance since suffering concussion two months ago after not being risked at Warrington, despite featuring in the initial 21-man squad.
Trinity were also without forward Kelepi Tanginoa, who suffered a dead leg in the win over Leigh Centurions eight days ago, but Chester confirmed: “Tom Johnstone will definitely play on Wednesday.
“We have got Kelepi Tanginoa as well, Matty Ashurst is back from his suspension and fingers crossed we’ll have Jordan Crowther as well.
“That’s four people back for us and I think our left edge will certainly be stronger than it was on Friday.
“Tash [Ashurst] is a really important player for us on the left-edge and we have really missed him in that area.”
This week’s derby will be Wakefield’s third game in 11 days and Chester admitted that is “not ideal”, so getting their preparation right will be vital to hopes of ending their long barren run against Castleford.
He said: “We actually brought the Leigh game forward so I suppose we can’t really moan about the five-day turnaround to last Friday.
“The Leigh game was meant to be played in a couple of weeks’ time, but it was a good opportunity to pick up a game there.
“I’ve no idea why we’re playing on a Wednesday after a Friday night game, but we have just got to roll up our sleeves and go again this week.
“We have to make sure we prepare the best we possibly can to get a win over our close rivals.”
After the victories over Hull KR, Huddersfield Giants and Leigh, Trinity’s standards dropped against Warrington, Chester felt.
The home side, on the back of a Betfred Challenge Cup semi-final loss to Castleford six days earlier, made a flying start and were 14-0 ahead after 19 minutes.
Trinity - who were delayed in traffic and only arrived at the ground 45 minutes before kick-off - battled back and cut the deficit to eight points at half-time, but two tries straight after the interval and another brace in the final 10 minutes left Wakefield well beaten.
Chester will be looking for a much better start this week.
“We weren’t good enough in the first 20 minutes,” the Wakefield coach accepted.
“Warrington challenged us through the middle and we couldn’t come up with the answers.”