McIlorum: It’ll be like my debut again

Micky McIlorum is stretchered off against Brisbane in 2016
Micky McIlorum is stretchered off against Brisbane in 2016

Micky McIlorum admits he will feel as nervous as his first-team debut if he gets the green-light to return this weekend.

The hooker is fit-again after a frustrating 14-months out injured with a broken and dislocated ankle.

He is hoping to make his comeback against St Helens this Friday, possibly from the bench in front of a bumper DW Stadium crowd.

Coach Shaun Wane may decide to bring him back against Wakefield three days later instead.

Either way, McIlorum is counting the days until he can get back on the pitch - and says he expects some butterflies in the build-up.

“I’ll be very nervous, it’ll be liking making my debut all over again,” said the 29-year-old. “I’ve been thinking about what it will be like, stood on the side waiting to come on.

“It might even be a little bit worse than my debut because of the apprehension of my injury - everything is fine now but it’s lurking in the back of my head, ‘Is it going to be alright?’

“I’m fit to play, I’ve been out for so long so I’ve just been desperate to get back so you know the sooner the better for me.”

McIlorum suffered the horror injury playing against Brisbane in the World Club Series last February.

He had initially hoped to return at the end of the season, and then when he was beaten by the clock, for the start of this year.

But surgical plates were causing him discomfort, forcing him to go under the knife again - a similar experience Sam Tomkins has just had with his broken foot - which delayed his return to now.

“I’ve been doing bits before and after training, to try and top up that bit of fitness - but there’s nothing like match-fitness,” he added.

Sean O’Loughlin, Joe Burgess and Anthony Gelling are also nearing returns from injuries.

More than 21,000 tickets have already been sold for Friday’s televised derby, which kicks-off at 12.15pm.

Saints are hunting for a new head coach after sacking Keiron Cunningham yesterday.

Assistants Sean Long and Jamahl Lolesi are expected to be in charge on Friday.

“Keiron’s a really good guy and he loves that club,” said Wane.

“I don’t know the circumstances, they obviously have their reasons but it’s sad when someone loses their job.”

Ex-Warrior Gareth Hock, now at Leigh, faces the RFL disciplinary tonight charged with foul and abusive language to a match official.

He was one of five players cited by the review panel.