Steve Price on: Ashton injury, possible Austin recall & Warrington full-back options

Warrington coach Steve Price will be forced into making changes after Matty Ashton was ruled out of Friday’s Betfred Challenge Cup quarter-final against Catalans Dragons.

But the full-back’s absence does not mean an automatic recall for Blake Austin.

The Australian stand-off, one of the club’s marquee players, was surprisingly dropped for the Wolves’ league trip to Catalans a fortnight ago and also sat out last Saturday’s win over Hull KR, with Stefan Ratchford switching from full-back into the halves.

Ashton has played full-back in the last two games but picked up an ankle injury against Rovers and, although he has yet to undergo scans to determine the extent, Price confirmed at his weekly press conference that he will not play on Saturday.

Price says he has a number of options to plug the gap, including the return from suspension of winger Tom Lineham, but is keeping his cards close to his chest.

He said: “Stef going back to full-back is an option but we have Jake Mamo and Josh Thewlis there too.

“I’m really happy with how the squad are applying themselves. All 29 are pushing hard.

“Tommy Lineham coming back is a bigger headache as well. Everyone wants to be playing each week but Blake is an important part of our team.

“There’s some tough calls to make but I’d rather be in this position than not.”

Tom Lineham could return for Warrington this weekend

Austin is out of contract this year but Price, who is leaving the club to return to Australia at the end of the season, says the former Canberra playmaker remains part of his plans for 2021.

Price said: “Blake is disappointed he’s not in our squad and I want him to be.

“He’s been class around the team and he’s trying to get back into that 13.

“As an individual, he’s been first class. He’s a professional athlete and has been around the game for quite a while.

“It’s hard when you get relegated out of the team but he’s certainly not far away.”

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