MATTY Russell could make his first Warrington Wolves start against Huddersfield Giants on Sunday as Tony Smith considers shuffling his half backs.
Smith moved Stefan Ratchford into the halves and replaced Gareth O’Brien with lively full back Russell in the second half against Wigan Warriors during Thursday’s loss at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The 20-year-old could be joined by the Evans twins, Rhys and Ben, in the squad, while hooker Micky Higham is available after last week’s facial injury caused accidentally by Scott Taylor’s studs.
“Matty Russell has certainly added a spark in his last couple of appearances when he’s come on,” said Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby.
“He’s made a push for a possible start and there’s a likelihood of that, which could mean changes in the halves.
“Micky’s fine, he’s trained all week and is available for the weekend. He hasn’t looked good in terms of appearance, but it’s superficial scrapes. It was nasty looking, rather than the actual outcome.
“I don’t think anybody should miss the game because of injury and Ben Evans and Rhys Evans are both possibilities.”
Anthony England is available following a foot injury, while Paul Wood and Ben Currie – who scored three tries for Swinton Lions at the weekend – are likely to remain with Wolves’ partner club.
“Woody probably needs another run out,” added Smith.
“He did some really good things for Swinton but was a bit off in some of his skill levels, so he’ll end up having another game for them.
“Ben was outstanding in attack, top class. He’s still got a little bit going on with defensive issues so I’m not sure if Ben will make the first-team game this week.”
Wolves head to Huddersfield boasting a nine-game winning run against their hosts, but Smith will not be using this as motivation for his players.
“We haven’t made mention of our record” he said.
“It’ll make no difference come 3pm on Sunday – it’s about what we do after that whistle goes that will count.
“Our challenge won’t be any different, whether we had a win or a loss last week. Nothing changes too much for us, we’re going out there to do battle.
“Both teams are looking for consistency in their form, both can attack very well and defend very well, so hopefully both teams will do both of those things and we’ll have a great game.”
Sunday’s clash pits Simon Grix against brother Scott and Wolves’ Ireland international believes both sides are looking to bounce back after defeats to Wigan Warriors and Catalan Dragons.
“Huddersfield will be looking to right some wrongs, as will we,” said the loose forward. “It’s a tough game and we’re not expecting to see the same performance they put in against Catalan.”
Wolves have promoted brothers George and Toby King into their full-time first team training squad. England under 18s centre Toby, aged 17, is in his second year with the Academy, while prop George, aged 19, joined from Huddersfield Academy during the off-season.