WAKEFIELD TRINITY will be without at least eight senior players due to injury for tomorrow’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final at Salford Red Devils.
Forwards David Fifita and James Batchelor have become the latest players ruled out after being hurt in the 18-16 Betfred Super League defeat to Leeds Rhinos four days ago.
Coach Chris Chester said: “It’s a similar position to what we were in last year in terms of a lack of front-rowers.
“We’ve lost Dave Fifita for a number of weeks with a grade two medial ligament tear and we’ve lost James Batchelor for a couple of weeks as well with a hip problem.”
Prop Craig Huby will return tomorrow after being rested last weekend.
Captain Danny Kirmond – who has been sidelined with a back problem – and fellow back-rower Jordan Crowther have been called into Trinity’s initial 19-man squad along with centre Reece Lyne.
But winger Tom Johnstone, centre Ashley Gibson, half-back Jacob Miller and forwards Adam Walker, Tinirau Arona and Jon Molloy all remain on the casualty list.
Chester admitted he would have liked to have been able to rest players for last Saturday’s game, but with the sides third and fourth on the table felt he had to go with a strong line-up.
“We wanted to stay in the top-four,” he said.
“Unfortunately we just came up a little bit short and came up with a loss.
“It has come at a bit of cost for us, but we have still got a pretty strong squad.
“Getting Craig Huby back will give us more grunt up front and people like Bill Tupou will be a lot better for the run last weekend.
“I thought he was very good in yardage. It’s a game we are all looking forward to.”
The loss to Leeds ended a seven-game winning run, but Chester insisted it has not damaged confidence in the camp.
“In terms of completions and our kicking game it was probably the worst we’ve been this year,” he said.
“We completed at 68 per cent in total and you can’t afford to give Leeds that amount of possession, but we showed plenty of grit and determination and came up with some really good defensive plays on our own tryline.
“There wasn’t much between the teams. I thought Leeds played a bit better than us on the night and you’ve got to cop it and get on with things.”