Eastmond will not return for cup semi final

Kyle Eastmond will not play for St Helens against Leeds in the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi final despite hopes he would be able to make his return from injury.


The England international has missed the last four matches after aggravating an ankle injury in the 28-24 defeat by Leeds at the start of July.


Meanwhile, Australian centre Matt Gidley looks set to make his return from injury, and it is hoped Gary Wheeler and Jonny Lomax could do likewise.


Eastmond is nearing fitness, but Saints boss Mick Potter feels including him in the squad for Saturday’s game against Leeds would be too much of a risk.


Instead it seems likely Leon Pryce and Scott Moore will be partnered at half-back.


Potter hopes that Gidley be able to play against the Rhinos after missing Saints’ 26-24 win against Warrington with a slight quadricep strain.


“He needed to have a spell on the weekend, otherwise he would have been a risk for this Saturday,” Potter told the Liverpool Echo. “He’s looking good now and hopefully he’ll get through the rest of the week.”


If Wheeler and Lomax are available Potter will be left with a selection headache, but added “I’d rather have those headaches than not having players available”.


“There will be some debating amongst the coaching staff.


“We’ll see how the players are in full training to see who’s actually fit and who’s trying to bluff their way through because it is such a big occasion.


“Nobody wants to miss out but you can’t have a player who is only 95% fit. You need him to be 100% fit. Then it will be deciding what’s best for the team.


“A couple of young guys will come back into consideration but what you saw on Saturday will be pretty close to what’s going to be out this weekend.”  

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