St Helens coach provides injury update on duo ahead of Challenge Cup quarter-final

Ben Olawumi
Jake Wingfield, Mark Percival

St Helens duo Jake Wingfield (left) & Mark Percival (right)

St Helens will have to wait another week to welcome Mark Percival back after his head injury, with youngster Jake Wingfield also facing a spell on the sidelines with a shoulder issue, as confirmed by boss Paul Wellens.

Percival required input from a specialist in relation to his blow, failing a HIA during the Good Friday victory against Wigan Warriors after being on the end of the high shot which saw Liam Byrne sent off, and then having to sit out of last week’s defeat in Perpignan to Catalans Dragons.

Saints had hoped to have him back available for Sunday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final tie against Warrington Wolves at the Totally Wicked Stadium, but he has been advised to spend another week out of the action.

Elsewhere, Wingfield – who has appeared off the bench in all eight of the games played by Wellens’ side so far this season – picked up his shoulder problem in the defeat at Catalans having come off the interchange bench.

Like Percival, he will sit out of Sunday’s cup tie, and the 22-year-old is likely facing at least a few weeks on the sidelines.

Red V chief Wellens confirmed the same in his pre-match press conference, with Saints aiming to book a spot in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup for the fourth year on the spin.

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St Helens coach provides injury update on duo ahead of Challenge Cup quarter-final

Wellens, who won three successive Challenge Cups between 2006 and 2008 with man of the match performances in two of those years’ finals, provided an injury update as he detailed the only new absentee would be Wingfield.

The two-time Harry Sunderland Trophy winner said: “There’s only Jake Wingfield, who’s got a bit of a shoulder issue that we’re having checked out at the moment.

“It’s unlikely that he’s going to play for a few weeks, but I can’t really say much more than that until we get those checks done. It’s obviously disappointing for Jake, it’s obviously a big game at the weekend and it’s one that he’d love to be a part of.

“I think he’s been outstanding the way he’s started the year as well, so it’s a loss for us and obviously a disappointment for him, but we’ll adapt and whatever 17 take the field, I’m sure there’ll be huge motivation for every individual to go out there and perform well.”

As noted above, the Red V will also be without stalwart Percival. The 29-year-old – who played in both the 2019 Challenge Cup final defeat to Warrington and the 2021 triumph under the Wembley arch against Castleford Tigers – is set to make his return next week when Saints host Hull FC in Super League.

Speaking about the specialist’s findings with Percival, head coach Wellens said: “It’s a really positive result, but he’s not available this week. He’s likely to be available the week after against Hull FC.

“I’ve no issue with that, we as a club take our players’ health very, very seriously. We’ve sat down with the specialist and yes it’s a Challenge Cup tie, yes it’s an important game, but we will absolutely follow the guidance given to us by the specialists.

“Mark’s disappointed. He’d have loved to play at the weekend, but we do what’s right for Mark. It’s not necessarily what he wants, it’s what’s right for him.

“He wants to play, he’s desperate to play and we’d love to have him in the team, but his health comes first. That’s the decision that’s been made and we respect it.

“We’re all well aware now of the cautions that need to be taken around brain health, so it’s a decision that we’re completely comfortable with.”

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