Wakefield Trinity winger Tom Johnstone could return in Super League clash with Leigh Centurions this week coach Chris Chester says
England World Cup contender Tom Johnstone has “a chance” of making his long-awaited Wakefield Trinity comeback this weekend.
The winger has played only three times this year and concussions suffered in successive games at the start of April led to him being stood down by his club.
Trinity face Leigh Centurions at Mobile Rocket Stadium, Belle Vue, on Sunday and coach Chris Chester is hopeful Johnstone will be included when he names an initial 21-man squad two days before the game.
“Tom’s pretty close,” Chester confirmed.
“It is tough and go, he has been to see a specialist and we’re waiting for those results back.
“There’s a chance - I reckon it is a small chance - but the sooner we can get some contact into him, the better.
“We’ve slowly been building his training up over the last two weeks and we need him back out on the field.”
But Chester stressed: “There is some competition there, Liam Kay and Lee Kershaw have both been playing exceptionally well for us.
“Tom is a class winger and an England international, so I will worry about that decision when it comes nearer the time.
“If not this week [for Johnstone’s return], then definitely the week after.”
Full-back or half-back Ryan Hampshire, who has not played since suffering a fractured jaw in April, is also close to a comeback.
“He starts contact training with us [today],” Chester revealed. “He is in contention, he is certainly fit, but he needs to get a couple of weeks of contact into him first before we think about selection.
“It’s a nice position to be in and we have got some continuity now.
“Last week was the first time we’ve been able to pick the same 16 - though Josh Eaves had to pull out because of concussion.”
Trinity came through last Sunday’s 38-12 win over Huddersfield Giants with no new injury concerns, but will not appeal against second-rower Matty Ashurst’s two-match ban for a dangerous throw on Joe Greenwood.
Chester said: “It’s tough, but it gives an opportunity to somebody like James Batchelor or Kelepi Tanginoa in the back-row.”