Wildcats prop forward Andy Raleigh is nearing a return to Super League and has been taking part in full training this week with Richard Agar’s squad.
The 2012 Coaches’ and Players’ Player of the Year has been missing since the early stages of the defeat against Catalan in Perpignan and could return as soon as this Friday against Castleford.
Raleigh has proved to be a crucial cog in the Wildcats system since his arrival from Huddersfield Giants at the end of the 2011 campaign and is eager to return over the Easter period.
“I’m glad to be back in full training and hopefully I’m not too far away from playing once again,” admitted Raleigh.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re injured, especially us going so close against teams like Salford and we should have won that one.
“I’m really looking forward to get playing, I felt as though I was playing and getting into form but that’s the nature of the game and I got a knock. I had to deal with it and do as much training as I could although I wasn’t with the full squad so when you come back you’re in some kind of shape.
“You’re here to do a job and if you’re not able to play you feel as if you’re not doing your job. The aim is to get back as soon as you can and to stay back which means not pushing yourself too early. Fingers crossed that’s going to be back sooner rather than later.”
The number 10 struck up a great relationship with Australian front-rower Justin Poore in the opening weeks and it is something Raleigh is looking forward to continue.
“He’s obviously a great player, he’s played State of Origin so we were just getting that partnership going so it was frustrating but it’s the nature of the game, a contact sport and every so often you’ll get these odd weeks off due to knocks.
“You definitely work together as a pair of props, I played a lot with Kyle Amor last year and we definitely felt comfortable because if somebody is taking a few more carries than the other you might give them a rest and defensively as well.
“You have a fair amount of work to do in the middle so if you can talk together you generally solve most of your problems.
“So getting that partnership is important and it was happening in the opening weeks but it will continue to develop when we get back out on the field together.”
The postponement of the game against the Rhinos last weekend was a disappointment for everybody concerned with the club but there was one positive to take from the cancelation. Tim Smith, Danny Kirmond and Raleigh himself were set to miss the fixture so he views it as a silver lining.
“Although you don’t want to see games postponed I quite like playing against Leeds so I can take the positives out of that because it will be replayed at home so I’ll be able to play in that at some point in the future.
“It was massive that the fans came and helped by clearing the pitch and that shows what a great club we’re at. Brian McDermott the Leeds coach said something similar that they’re struggling with injuries so it will be a better spectacle when the rearranged game is played because of the injuries both sides had.
“It’s probably going to mean a shorter turn around at some point in the future but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
All focus is now onto the gruelling Easter period and specifically the West Yorkshire derby at the Wish Communications Stadium on Friday evening. The consistent forward explained they will need to be on top form to gain the precious bragging rights.
“It’s always good whenever you win. It looks like they’ve been unlucky at times this season, they’ve been competing well but not getting the results. They’ve got some quality players and we’ll have to be in the form like we were last year at Manchester City’s ground and at their home ground to get the win.
“It’s a big fixture for the clubs and its great seeing so many fans at a proper rugby league ground at Cas, just like it is here. The fans are right on top of you and make plenty of noise so it’s something to look forward to.”
Tickets are still on sale for the Good Friday visit to Castleford and Wakefield supporters are advised to pre-purchase their tickets from the Wildcats retail outlets. Trinity receive 10% off all away tickets sold on every Super League game so make sure you buy yours before matchday and financially support the club.
Adults tickets are just £19, concessions £11 while under 5’s are free. Buy yours today from the Rapid Solicitors Stadium Box Office, Ridings Centre or Trinity Walk stores or by calling 01924 210548.
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