INJURIES ARE hampering Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ preparations for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final showdown with Warrington Wolves.
Wildcats will go into the big game, at Leigh Sports Village, without three players who were on duty in last Sunday’s derby loss to Castleford Tigers.
Forward Matty Ashurst suffered a fractured jaw in Wildcats’ 46-20 defeat and coach Chris Chester said it is unlikely he will be available for the semi-final.
Prop Jon Molloy (torn pectoral muscle) and centre Bill Tupou (hamstring) are also set to miss out due to injuries suffered against Castleford.
Chester said: “They will both be out.
“Jonny will probably be [sidelined for] about four weeks and Bill a couple.”
Hooker Michael Sio failed to finish the game against Tigers because of a sternum injury, but Chester said: “That is an on-going thing.
“We will jab that up and he will be fine this week.”
Chester admitted the injury pile-up has come at the wrong time as Wildcats prepare for their first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2008.
“It’s just the timing of it all,” Chester said.
“These last three weeks, they have all come at once, but it gives an opportunity to the rest of the guys in the squad.
“We will potentially get Kirmo [captain Danny Kirmond] back this week and Scott Anderson and Ben Jones-Bishop.”
Hooker Scott Moore will return after a one-game ban, but prop Anthony England, forward Chris Annakin and winger Tom Johnstone remain on the long-term casualty list.
“They have no chance for this week,” Chester confirmed.
“Mika Simon is probably a week away and potentially after the Cup we could have Mika, Bill and maybe Tom available.”
Despite the fitness concerns, Chester is upbeat about what his team could achieve this weekend.
“It’s not ideal, but we can’t complain,” he stressed.
“This is the first injury crisis we’ve had.
“We’ve only got 19 fit players, but we’ve got a very competitive squad who will go and give Warrington a good run for their money on Saturday.
“It is a game we are all looking forward to.”