BLAKE Austin is “certainly not far away” from regaining his place in the Warrington Wolves team.

The marquee stand-off has been left out of the side for Super League victories over Hull KR and Catalans Dragons, with Stefan Ratchford partnering Gareth Widdop in the halves.

It has led to speculation around his future at the club, with the former Canberra Raiders man out of contract at the end of the year.

An ankle injury suffered by Matty Ashton, who has started both of those games at full-back, may well open the door for Austin’s return to the side, but Price stopped short of saying whether he would play against the Dragons in tomorrow’s Challenge Cup quarter final.

The Wire head coach did praise the 30-year-old’s attitude since losing his place and affirmed that he was “an important part” of his squad.

“He’s been disappointed that he’s not in our squad, but I want my players to be disappointed in that sense,” he said.

“He’s been class around our organisation and our team. He’s cracking on with getting back into our 13.

“As an individual, he’s been first class and he’s not too far away.

“He’s a professional who has been around the game for quite a while.

“It is hard when you get relegated from your position in the team but he’s certainly not far away and I’ve been really pleased with his attitude.

“He’s an important part of our team and I’ve said that over the past two weeks.”

With Ratchford and Widdop in the halves, The Wire scored 50 points in a game for the first time in more than two years in beating Hull KR on Saturday.

They currently sit top of the Super League charts for tries and points scored after five rounds having crossed the whitewash 31 times and notched 144 points in total.

While it remains early days, Price believes the work done on his side’s attack in pre-season may be starting to bear some fruit.

“It’s very pleasing at that’s credit to the players for their attention to detail through the week, which is being replicated on game day,” he said.

“The boys are starting to find some good rhythm and are in a good place.”