ENGLAND centre Leroy Cudjoe has offered to play with League One Oldham to prove his fitness for Huddersfield Giants.
The 27-year-old is fit again after knee surgery but knows he has a battle on to regain his place especially after Huddersfield’s fine 30-19 win over Warrington Wolves last weekend.
Youngster Jake Connor impressed as did on-loan second-row Jack Hughes, who switched to centre, while Joe Wardle can also operate there.
Aaron Murphy is another option who is also closing in on his own return from injury and may be fit for Sunday’s trip to Widnes Vikings.
Cudjoe – missing since the Challenge Cup loss to Leeds Rhinos on May 16 – admitted: “Everyone played great at the weekend, so I’m not expecting just to walk back in.
“All I can do at the moment is train hard and hope I get selected.
“If not, then I’d like to try get a game at Oldham if possible to try build some fitness and show what I can do.
“I got back to full training on Wednesday and, after ankle and knee injuries now, hopefully that’s the last of them.”
He knows how crucial this weekend’s game is for Huddersfield’s top-four aspirations.
“The match against Widnes is massive – good sides don’t just peak for one big game then lose the next,” said Cudjoe, after Giants beat one of the ‘big’ clubs for only the second time this season.
“With how close the league is, we’ve got keep winning and improving our game.
“Widnes is always a tough place to go so we need to lift our performance again this week.”
Their hosts need a win, too, to keep alive their own hopes of reaching the top eight after a costly defeat to Hull KR last time out.
Kevin Brown is crucial to them, the talented stand-off who played with Cudjoe for Huddersfield and England.
The Widnes captain, 30, has not represented the national side since the 2010 Four Nations, however, despite what many deem as his career-best form.
Cudjoe, a colleague for five years at Giants, said: “Kev’s in great form and is a very good player.
“He’s someone we need to look to stop on Sunday.
“It’s not really for me to say if he should be involved with England.
“All I know is if he keeps playing like he is he won’t be too far away.”
One player who is definitely in England coach Steve McNamara’s thinking is Brett Ferres, the second-row who is also set to make a comeback after missing the last two games following a knee operation.
Before that setback, Ferres had been used by Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson as a loose-forward – a position which could become a permanent switch.
Cudjoe added: “Brett’s been good for us in that middle – he gives us another dimension in attack specially with Joe (Wardle) playing so well at back-row.
“But Brett’s a threat anywhere he plays so it will be a boost to see him back on the field as we look to kick on again this year.”