SAINTS prop Alex Walmsley is hoping to get the green light to resume playing when he visits the surgeon next week for a scan.

The 2017 Steve Prescott Man of Steel runner-up has not played since breaking a bone in his neck at Warrington in week five of last season.

But coach Justin Holbrook says the big man is "training the house down" and is confident he will get the all clear to resume playing.

Holbrook said: "He will have a scan next week and looks as good as he has since June and is ready to go, but he has not got the green light.

"He sees the surgeon a week on Friday, so hopefully we can get that ticked off and he is ready to go."

Holbrook is confident that the big man will not only get the nod to play, but will make a huge impact after having his 2018 campaign wrecked.

"I am confident he will start the year," he said.

"He is showing no signs of discomfort and is flying in training.

"He is going to be a great addition having not played since round five last year.

"We were close to having a great season, so if we can throw him into mix with our new blokes I am confident we have a good side."

In Walmsley's absence, Luke Thompson's game found another level and young packmen Matty Lees and Jack Ashworth made the most of their opportunities by bringing some enthusiastic hard running to the middle.

Walmsley's return will intensify competition for spots in the middle, but that was a headache Holbrook welcomed.

"We are going to need them all; we play a lot of games.

"And they are going to benefit from having Big Al on the field.

"Plenty will want to take the next carry after Al.

"Added to that they will all be better players for the development they have had to do themselves," Holbrook said.