FANS must wait a little bit longer to see him in action but Andy Lynch says the arrival of fellow prop Ryan Bailey at Castleford Tigers is going to bring a “new dimension” to the club’s pack.
Coach Daryl Powell has opted against including the former Leeds Rhinos forward for tomorrow’s game at Salford Red Devils having only signed him earlier this week after a recent hiatus.
Bailey joined after playing just one game for Hull KR following his move from Headingley at the end of last season and, so, Castleford’s staff will work with him further before returning the ex-Great Britain international to the rigours of Super League.
However, Tigers star Lynch – a long-time front-row adversary of Bailey starting at the height of Leeds Rhinos/Bradford Bulls’ famous rivalry – believes the 31-year-old can sort his off-field problems and reproduce his six-time Grand Final-winning best.
The controversial Bailey is renowned for having a short fuse and being one of the players who can irritate opposition players and supporters alike.
Lynch, 35, admitted: “He’s a great player to have on your side as opposed to having him against you. He’s tough and uncompromising, and he’ll add another dimension to our pack.
“A lot of people see Bails as how he plays on the field, and I could probably relate him to (the late ex-Bradford and Great Britain hooker) Terry Newton in a way.
“Terry was one of the nicest guys you could meet off the field, but as soon as he went on it he changed – he was an animal.
“Bails will give us a big lift when he plays. He’ll add aggression; we’re a hard-working pack and if you take Lee Jewitt out of the pack – who is the aggressor – Bails will give us that element and that physicality up front while bringing more competition which is what we need.”
Depleted Salford must wish they had the luxury of being able to leave a player of Bailey’s calibre on the sidelines .
Red Devils coach Iestyn Harris, a former team-mate of Lynch’s at Odsal, is without nine players for tomorrow’s game whether via injury or suspension.
Such is their desperation that assistant coach Ian Watson, the ex-Halifax and Wales scrum-half, had trained this week ready to come out of retirement at the age of 38, although he was not named in Salford’s 19-man squad yesterday.
“We’ve got to focus on our own game; they’ve had their problems with injuries but so have we,” said Lynch, as inconsistent Castleford look for the win that will see them rise above Salford in the table.
“It’s a massive game this week, and they’re going to be saying the same. We’ve got to have a real good preparation and hopefully we can go and do the job.”
The West Yorkshire club are smarting from Sunday’s embarrassing 46-16 defeat at Widnes Vikings, a loss which undid much of the good work generated by consecutive wins over Hull KR and Warrington Wolves.
Frustratingly, Castleford, the big success story of 2014, have still yet to string three successive victories together this season.
Asked what the difference this time around has been, Lynch said: “It’s just inconsistency.
“Last year we couldn’t have hoped for a better start; we were six wins from seven games and we just haven’t had a chance to get going this season.
“We’re still working hard to hit those levels, and even though we’re halfway through the year we can step up. Everyone has been so inconsistent this season, apart from Leeds at the top.
“You’ve got to be on your game every week – and we haven’t so far, along with a few other teams.
“It’s a bit mad at the moment to be fair; you can go from 10th up to fifth with one win it seems.
“It’s really tight, but if we win a few games we can pull away from other teams.”
Salford have won three of their last four league games now but endured a Challenge Cup shock losing to Championship leaders Leigh Centurions last Sunday as their selection issues escalated.
Castleford are set to give a debut to teenage full-back Ash Robson while scrum-half Luke Gale and second-row Junior Moors also return.
Prop Steve Crossley, who has rejoined Bradford, and Michael Channing are among the ones to make way after the Widnes loss.