Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will be missing a host of key players for Friday’s Super League clash at St Helens (kick-off 8pm).
Influential play-maker Tim Smith, who has suffered a calf injury and eye infection, and forwards Justin Poore and Ali Lauitiiti have joined skipper Danny Kirmond and Andy Raleigh in the treatment room ahead of the tough trip to Langtree Park.
It means Wakefield head coach Richard Agar will take a young squad to Saints, with Danny Cowling and Bobbie Goulding being recalled from dual registration stints with Doncaster, while Matty Wildie also returns.
Centre Reece Lyne is also expected to come back into the matchday squad after missing out against Salford, as is Kyle Amor, who Agar left out last week due to disciplinary issues.
“I suppose every team gets injuries and how we cope with those injuries is the key and it tests your squad,” said Agar.
“You only have to look at the calibre of players that have copped a hit at once which has undoubtedly robbed us of some of our best players all at the same time. It is difficult to contend with but we’ll get on with the job and give it our best shot.”
He continued: “You play the cards your dealt and we’ll send our strongest squad over there.
“The positive out of it is some guys are going to continue to get good experiences which is only going to help us in the long term. Meanwhile, some guys that have been on the periphery sat waiting patiently for a chance are going to get that chance.
“We’re hoping that youthful enthusiasm combined with some guys that are wanting to make stronger claims for a place in the team will give us a performance that is full of passion, spirit and commitment.”
Wildcats are hoping to welcome Kirmond and Raleigh back for the Easter matches against Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors and will continue to assess Smith, Poore and Lauitiiti.
St Helens coach Nathan Brown welcomes Tommy Makinson back into his 19-man squad but Paul Wellens remains sidelined with a calf problem.
Wildcats 19-man squad: Mathers, Fox, Collis, L Smith, Cockayne, Sykes, Aiton, Washbrook, Wood, Amor, Wilkes, Mariano, Trout, Mellars, Lyne, Wildie, Cowling, Goulding, Annakin.
St Helens 19-man squad: Gardner, Turner, Soliola, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Wilkin, Manu, Laffranchi, Flanagan, Clough, Jones, Makinson, Greenwood, Walmsley, Walker.