Wheeler in line for half-back spot

Gary Wheeler could start in the halves for St Helens against Bradford on Saturday in the absence of Jonny Lomax, who has a shoulder injury.

Wheeler, 22, has played in five of Saints’ six Super League matches this season, starting three at centre and coming twice off the bench, scoring a brace of tries in the dramatic home defeat to Catalan.

A stand-off in his youth, Wheeler has been forced to adopt a centre berth in the first team, owing to the presence of both Lomax and Lee Gaskell, as well as the likes of Lance Hohaia, and in the past, Leon Pryce and Kyle Eastmond.

He has started at six or seven just four times in his 37-game Super League career with St Helens so far, but could get a chance to impress in front of the SKY cameras at Odsal.

Another option for coach Royce Simmons is Nathan Ashe, who has been playing well for the Under 20s.

The coach told the club’s official website: “With Jonny being out the obvious choice to partner Lee Gaskell is Gary Wheeler. Nathan is also going well in the lower grades and he is smart too. He’s been playing stand off and half back. So we have some options there.”

Simmons has a number of selection headaches ahead of the round seven clash, with an ever growing injury list.

Lomax has joined James Roby (thigh) and Chris Flannery (groin) on the sidelines, while Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (ankle) and Paul Clough (leg) are also likely to be missing.

There are also doubts over a knee complaint from Sia Soliola, who was also victim of an alleged assault last weekend.

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