Johnston opportunity to lay down marker

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AS one home-grown legend draws ever closer to his retirement, Castleford Tigers coach Ian Millward hopes to give supporters a first glimpse of a potential heir apparent tomorrow.

Danny Orr shot onto the Super League scene as a dashing 17-year-old half-back when he made his Tigers debut in 1997.

The current captain will call it a day at the end of the season but not before lining up alongside the latest young Castlefordian hoping to make it big with his local heroes.

Ben Johnston, 18, will get his first taste of Super League when London Broncos arrive at Wheldon Road tomorrow and there are obvious similarities with Orr.

Millward said: “Ben is an exciting young player in our academy set-up.

“We’re bringing him in for his speed and to give us a different dimension in attack.

“His enthusiasm will also be a key asset. Jamie Ellis and Danny Orr are both fit and raring to go and I’ll accommodate all three this weekend.

“I have been impressed with Ben’s speed and his development over the last month with the top squad.

“I think it’s important the fans get to see a youngster in there, with a bit of pace and enthusiasm too.

“He’s not the tallest kid, but I’ve been thinking about him for a few weeks and I’m pleased he’ll get an opportunity.”

Johnston, who hails from the town’s famous Lock Lane amateur club, has been on a dual-registration with York City Knights this season and impressed alongside experienced player-coach Chris Thorman.

Given England stand-off Rangi Chase is out for the rest of the season after knee surgery and unlikely to play again for the club given Hull FC’s continued interest in him, Castleford do need to explore their options in the half-back area, more so for 2013 than anything else.

Following Sunday’s demoralising derby loss at home to rivals Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Millward is also right in acknowledging the need to give disappointed fans a refreshing sight of one of their own.

“We were very disappointed with our performance last week, especially in the forwards, but, thankfully, we’re at home again and we need to see a big improvement,” he added.

Johnston is the only change to the squad that was so easily vanquished by Wakefield, the majority of that side getting the chance to redeem themselves.

He comes in for winger Rhys Williams, who has returned to Warrington Wolves after completing his loan spell with the West Yorkshire club.