Warrington hopeful of key forward returning for Saints clash

Drew Darbyshire
James Harrison Warrington Wolves News Images Wire

Photo: Craig Thomas/News Images

Warrington coach Daryl Powell says he is hoping that key forward James Harrison will be available to return for Thursday’s clash with St Helens.

Harrison started the season in superb form but he’s not played since round three due to a knee injury.

The versatile forward, who has recently been named in Shaun Wane’s 40-man England squad ahead of their mid-season international against France, could make his return in Thursday night’s televised clash against champions Saints.

“I’ll get a check tomorrow,” Powell said. “Jimmy Harrison has been running a fair bit over the last few days so I’m hoping he’ll be alright.”

However, Thursday’s match looks to be too soon for prop Joe Bullock to return from the treatment room.

“Joe Bullock will be (back for) Wakefield I think but we’ll see what he’s like tomorrow,” Powell added.

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Powell says his side have responded to last week’s 13-6 defeat to rivals Wigan in a positive fashion, and are focused on bouncing back this week rather than dwelling on the Wigan result.

“The boys have had a bit of time off, they come back in to training tomorrow and we’ll get ready for another big game for us,” the Wolves boss added.

“We knew these three games were stacked together (Catalans, Wigan and Saints). We’ve won one and lost one, so this is an important game for us.

“We need to front up and play a bit better, we weren’t at our best the other night in a really tough game in tough conditions.

“The other day we had a review, it was as positive as it can be in defeat. It was a tight loss, I thought they played the conditions better than us as I mentioned so we just need to get back into it and get back playing our best rugby league again which you need to in these big games.”

One big push before the international break

This week’s match at St Helens is Warrington’s last before the mid-season break due to the international test being played between England and France at Warrington on April 29.

Powell, whose side currently sit top of the Super League table, believes his players will be thankful for some time off to allow their bodies to recover from a big start to the season.

“For some players they’ll be after time off and we’ll have some players that just want to keep playing,” Powell admitted.

“The schedule throughout the year is a pretty heavy one and depending what happens with the Challenge Cup, you are playing every week throughout the year if you are going well so I think this will be welcome for quite a few players, particularly some of our middle unit players who have been playing every week.

“I’d say Danny Walker would be one, but he’s in the international squad! It’ll be a mix I think but for some players it would be a welcome break.”

Warrington’s huge game against St Helens takes place at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday, live on Sky Sports (8pm).

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