RELIEVED Chris Chester says it is a “massive” boost being able to call upon the experience of former Scotland captain Danny Brough in tomorrow’s Coral Challenge Cup quarter-final.
The veteran half-back, who famously won the trophy with Hull FC alongside his current coach in 2005, has been sidelined for seven weeks due to a hand injury.
However, Brough had his pot off yesterday and has been named in Wakefield’s 19-man squad as they prepare to visit Super League leaders St Helens.
Chester explained: “Broughy’s had the wire out and it was just under general anaesthetic.
“There’s just a little nick and a couple of stitches where they’ve gone in, but he’s desperate to play and I’m not going to stand in his way. We’ll train Friday, get it strapped up and padded up, and he’s had the okay from the specialist.
“To have Broughy back is massive especially with having to blood some young kids.
“Lee Kershaw will play and Jack Croft could as well as it looks like Mason Caton-Brown is going to miss out this weekend.
“The more experience you have the better for everyone and we need our best players on the field. Broughy’s probably been one of our best so far this year.”
Indeed, the 36-year-old had instantly settled back into life at Belle Vue at the start of this season having rejoined the club from Huddersfield Giants where he had been since 2010.
Brough’s kicking quality has aided Chester’s side immensely and it will certainly need to be on point tomorrow if they are to cause a Cup shock.
Ryan Hampshire has been playing at half-back in his absence, but he will be needed to revert to full-back against St Helens as Max Jowitt is now out for six weeks having also fractured a hand in Saturday’s loss against Catalans Dragons. With on-loan Salford Red Devils centre Junior Sa’u cup-tied and doubts over winger Caton-Brown’s fitness, it is understandable why Chester needs Brough to come through today’s final session successfully.
Centre Croft, 19, has yet to debut while winger Kershaw, 20, only made his bow last month.
Man of Steel contender David Fifita is also out, but the Australian prop, who needed crutches to leave the field at Anfield at the weekend, could return from a foot problem inside a fortnight.
Saints have England duo Luke Thompson and Mark Percival as well as Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook back from injuries. They have lost France half-back Theo Fages after he suffered a head injury in Sunday’s win over Castleford Tigers in Liverpool, but Danny Richardson comes in.
Meanwhile, University of Bolton Stadium has been confirmed as the venue for the Cup semi-finals on July 27 despite fears due to Bolton Wanderers currently being in administration.