Lee Radford confirms he is wrapping four stars up “in cotton wool” ahead of friendlies

Castleford Tigers take on Keighley Cougars this weekend after already playing their first game of pre-season against Featherstone Rovers.

That was a very young side, but speaking on Tigers TV, Lee Radford confirmed that this time it will be a stronger squad but that two new signings will not play alongside Niall Evalds:

“It’ll be a big squad with a lot of interchanges but the core of the squad will be playing but there will be some players who won’t play who we can’t afford to get injured who will be wrapped up in cotton wool until our last friendly against Huddersfield.

“Our two halfbacks won’t be participating and probably won’t do until Huddersfield and Niall Evalds is probably in that bracket as well.”

However, Liam Watts will feature as he confirmed: “Liam will participate for sure, he would have done against Featherstone if he hadn’t been suspended.”

But another experienced player won’t feature in skipper Paul McShane:

“Paul McShane will be wrapped up in cotton wool, he is really valuable and I’m not saying other blokes aren’t but he plays a specialist position where we haven’t got much depth.”

As these key players are protected, two ball players were confirmed as being injured:

“Really disappointing, he signed him on the impression that he would be back last April. To lose another half for the season was disappointing, then it was all systems go for this year.

“We need a progression in him.

“It’s one of them, I don’t want to predict something and it doesn’t come off.

“With Danny Richardson being out for the season with his injury, we’re short in that position already.”

Speaking of halfbacks, a former Cas halfback will feature for the Championship new boys who, after an invincible season in League One, have made a real statement through major signings not least former Man of Steel and former Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers star Luke Gale though he didn’t feature against Newcastle away from home last week.

Former Hull KR man Ben Crooks, ex-Leigh Leopards forward Mark Ioane and Sadiq Adebiyi, formerly of Wakefield, did all debut however.

Gale has confirmed that he will be playing against his former club today by taking to Twitter to underline his excitement:

“Looking forward to Sunday should be a great turnout for the legend Jake Webster.

“See you all there.”

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