ROYCE Simmons has explained why he’s effectively had to select two teams to face Bradford on Sunday.
Saints have six players on International Origin duty and their availability for the Super League clash won’t be known until Saturday morning.
That means Simmons has had to choose from ‘what’s left’ to prepare for the clash.
“I have had to pick a side that basically hasn’t got the six lads involved,” Simmons said. “I have about 14 or 15 fit players and a few kids that are training together if the six don’t come back. But I also have Paul Wellens struggling with a dead leg and James Roby has a slight chance of playing.
“We knew Robes had fractured something and although the injury isn’t as bad as we feared – he has cracked the bone from his nose to his eye – it is badly bruised, swollen and numb. Our doctor spoke to England and we agreed he could play as to break it; it would have to take the same sort of impact that would break it anyway.
“The England Doctor and Steve McNamara spoke to Robes and he wasn’t feeling that comfortable to go down there and do a good week’s training and then play and give a good account of himself.
“So they took the decision not to play him in the game. If the swelling goes down and the numbness leaves his face I will play him on the Sunday. In effect, England ruled him out and could play him if they wanted to so effectively he has been released to the club.
“We are not ruling him out and we don’t know if he will play. But I will name him in 19 as I will with Paul Wellens and the six internationals.
“But Robes is pretty upset at not playing for his country as it’s a big honour for him.
“The six who will be playing on Friday said to me they would back up… and I said yeah, course you will, that’s what you get paid to do.
“Those players have a duty to come back, back up and be on the top of their game. The guys they have played alongside have helped them win a lot of games so they have a shout of playing in this rep game. They need to come back and show the young kids why they are playing at that level and why they are internationals and durable as players.”
Simmons expects Chris Flannery to return for the match against a team that is on a bit of a roll.
“Bradford have a bit of momentum behind them after winning the last two and they nearly rolled Wigan with 12 men. They will also be fresh and have no players backing up. There aren’t many negatives around them at the moment and it will be a tough match.”
Meanwhile, Leon Pryce has begun running as he steps up his rehabilitation from a groin injury. The stand-off is taking part in 20 minute sessions and is expected to be back in action in around four weeks.
Gary Wheeler will see a specialist on his shoulder injury on Friday and could return in three to four weeks.
Paul Clough will also visit the medical professionals this week to see how his shoulder is recovering. The forward sustained nerve damage in the away win over Leeds in March and could be in with a shout of selection in around two weeks.