Will Oakes is ready for a Hull KR recall as the talented winger prepares to make his first Super League appearance of the year.
The Scotland international will be named in Tim Sheens’ 19-man squad this lunchtime to face Salford Red Devils on Sunday.
Highly-rated Oakes, who earlier this year signed a new contract to remain at Rovers until the end of 2021, has not featured for the first team since sustaining a thumb injury in April’s Challenge Cup nilling of Oldham.
However, after a number of weeks plying his trade and returning to full fitness with dual-registration partners York City Knights, Oakes will be called upon to take on the Red Devils in this weekend’s crucial KCOM Craven Park clash.
Sheens has reiterated the call for patience with the former England Academy starlet but insists the 19-year-old is ready to be unleashed again in the top-flight when deputising for the injured Justin Carney.
“After the Challenge Cup game at Oldham he did his thumb and was in plaster for weeks. Will came back and struggled with his fitness as a result because he couldn’t use his hand properly,” Sheens told the Mail.
“It’s an awkward issue for the player as you can’t afford to come back too early. However he’s had four or five games straight at York and played very well there. He’s ready to fill the hole for us left by Justin who remains a few weeks away from recovering from his own hand injury.”
Jewitt and Clarkson may miss Devils tie
Rovers have had a long turn-around since the victory over Huddersfield Giants seven days ago but there remain question marks over the fitness of several players.
Prop Lee Jewitt didn’t feature against the Giants due to a back problem, and at this stage is unlikely to be named in the preliminary squad but the Mail understands he is not being ruled out entirely. Elsewhere, back-rower Chris Clarkson is struggling with a chest infection, whilst centre Liam Salter sustained a poke to the eye in the 37-10 success which makes him a doubt.
Sheens will make late calls on the trio for the Salford tie but is confident of naming a strong squad with plenty of players waiting in the wings for their opportunity.
“Jewitt didn’t play last week so he’s a bit of a doubt still. Chris has had a chest infection which will be a last minute decision. Both may still be considered but they’ll have to overcome those issues,” Sheens added.
“Liam’s a little dodgy so that’s why we’ve brought Will into the squad. James Donaldson is also in. The bulk of the team will still be there, particularly the starting side.”
Sheens on conditions and minor doubts
“Robbie Mulhern is fine after being brought off late last week, and though Mose Masoe missed yesterday’s session with a head infection, we think he’ll overcome it.
“Sunday is going to be very hot and I want people healthy. Nothing is easy and we’ll have to see how people pull up. We have got a lot of work done this week. We’ll have a small run tomorrow and be ready for Sunday. It’s expected to be 28 degrees, it’s going to test both them and us.”