LONG-TERM CASUALTY Danny Kirmond is poised for a shock return to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats action this weekend.
Coach Brian Smith has pledged to include Kirmond, who has not played since suffering a shoulder injury against Salford Red Devils on June 14, in his initial 19-man squad for Sunday’s final First Utility Qualifiers fixture at Sheffield Eagles.
If Kirmond plays and gets through unscathed he will be in contention for the million pound match, against Bradford Bulls, a week tomorrow.
“Danny Kirmond is in the squad this week,” Smith confirmed. “That’s a bit of a shock. We’re not sure he’s going to play this week, but he’ll definitely be fit for the following week.
“Fit medically and fit [to get through a game] are two different things though. If he can get across the line and play this week it’ll help for his selection the following week in the really big one against Bradford.”
Wildcats need to win on Sunday to stay above Bradford on the table and secure home advantage next week, in a showdown which will decide the final place in Super League 2016.
“Everyone knows our opponents in the big game next week are going to be Bradford, but apart from that we’ve not discussed that game too much yet,” Smith said of the promotion-decider. “We’re keen to back up what we did last week and finish the Qualifiers on two wins in a row.
“Home advantage is important. You’ve still got to play well, but we’d like to do it for our fans because it’s a bit more comfortable for them if we’re here at home against Bradford.”
Sheffield are bottom of the Qualifiers table, with just one win from their six games so far, but Smith is wary of the danger the Championship outfit could pose.
“I have a bit of a thing about people saying teams have nothing to play for in professional sport,” he said. “The bit that’s dangerous for me is that just a little shred of that thinking tends to loosen the players a little, chance their arm and not play restrictively.
“It’s a dangerous cocktail. I went to watch Sheffield play on Friday against Hull KR and they took them a long way into the match. They played as enthusiastically as any team who were chasing a big prize.
“Last game of the year is always a fun time for teams to have a bit of a go and to try and enjoy the off-season with a win. It’ll be just as hard as the rest.”