Wakefield Trinity made to wait on Bill Tupou's fitness ahead of Super League clash with Salford Red Devils

Bill Tupou will get every chance to prove his fitness ahead of Sunday’s Super League clash against Salford Red Devils, says head coach Chris Chester.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 10:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 11:08 pm
Bill Tupou pictured scoring at Hull FC. PIC: Matthew Merrick.

The 2018 Dream Team centre left the field during Wakefield Trinity’s victory at Hull FC two weeks ago and did not feature in last week’s dramatic defeat against Warrington Wolves.

The Wakefield boss admitted that he is still unsure if the explosive centre will be fit in time for the visit of Salford.

Matty Ashurst has recovered from a foot injury, however, and will be in line to start against his former club.

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Matty Ashurst.

“Bill Tupou will get up until Sunday afternoon to prove his fitness,” said Chester on Thursday.

“That was his first running session today, he tried running yesterday and it wasn’t great.

“We will wait and see what happens with Bill. If he doesn’t pull through, we will keep the same edge as we had last week.

“Except Matty Ashurst will go into that back-row spot. And then I have a couple of decisions to make regarding the interchanges.

Chris Chester.

“I will know more Saturday morning, but if Bill doesn’t play this week he will definitely play next week against Huddersfield.”

Chester admits that Trinity are thin on numbers but is hopeful some players could return ahead of the Easter period.

Meanwhile, the head coach has confirmed that “nothing concrete” has come from discussions about a replacement for Tom Johnstone.

“We are down to about 21, 22 players,” said Chester.

Wakefield are still on the lookout for a replacement for Tom Johnstone, who suffered a season-ending injury against Hull FC.

“It is not ideal. But we are hopeful that Tyler [Randell] will be back within four weeks.

“Chubs [Craig Huby] we are looking at Warrington away - June 21 - and Batch [James Batchelor] is a similar time-frame.

“The only one we have lost for the year is Tom Johnstone.

“We have spoke to a couple of agents but with Bill [Tupou] hopefully coming back this week we would just be bringing someone in to sit on the sidelines.

“We don’t want that to happen.

“We are looking but there is nothing concrete as of yet.”

Sunday’s opponents Salford have lost four and won four of their first eight games in 2019.

Their biggest result came at the beginning of March as they produced a stunning 46-0 victory at Catalans Dragons.

They have lost their last two outings, however, suffering a 24-20 defeat in Castleford before a 30-22 home loss against Wigan Warriors last weekend.

Wakefield have won just one of their four home games so far this term and Chester has said that is a slight concern.

“It is concerning, we seem to be playing a lot better away than we are at home,” added Chester.

“We are playing well in patches at home. You take away the Hull KR game, in the game against Saints [St Helens] we were good for 50 minutes.

“Against Warrington we were good for the last 30 minutes.

“It is concerning but we have just not been giving ourselves chances.

“Completion rates were at 68 per cent in that first half [versus Warrington], you deserve to get some points scored on you.

“We will try and get a good result against Salford but they are playing really well at the minute.

“They have changed the way they play, they are not as big and powerful as they have been but they have some smart halves.”