O'Carroll makes comeback with eye on final


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The Independent Online

The Wigan prop Eamon O'Carroll is set to return to first-team action after a 15-month absence against Bradford tomorrow night.

The Irish international feared for his career after complicated surgery on his sternum, but has come safely through a number of games on the road to full fitness.

He reappears just in time to stake a late claim for a place in the Challenge Cup final against Leeds next weekend. That might seem like a long-shot, but Wigan have already lost Ben Cross with a broken arm and any further injuries could just give O'Carroll his late chance.

"Everyone at the club is delighted to see Eamon back," said his coach, Michael Maguire. "He has had an extremely difficult last 14 months with his injuries, but his attitude to training and rehab has been a shining example."

With Wembley looming, Maguire has opted to rest three members of his likely Cup final squad – Brett Finch, Lee Mossop and Andy Coley – for the visit of the Bulls. However, Paul Deacon and Jeff Lima, who were rested against Salford on Sunday, both return.

Warrington fear their England forward, Ben Westwood, could miss the rest of the season. The second-rower tore his medial ligament against Wakefield on Sunday and, while it does not require surgery, it could keep him out for five or six weeks – uncomfortably close to the Grand Final, should the Wolves progress that far.

"There's a possibility that he's gone for the season," said his coach, Tony Smith. Definitely ruled out for the rest of this year is Rhys Evans, who has broken a bone in his foot, while there is still no sign of a comeback for Adrian Morley, who has continuing problems with double vision following a head injury.