Gower comeback on the cards

Penrith captain Craig Gower is expected to make an early comeback from a knee injury and play against the Canberra Raiders this weekend in an attempt to turn around the Panthers? form slump.

The Panthers have struggled through the representative season, winning just two of their last six matches and suffering embarrassing losses at the hands of Melbourne and South Sydney.

Gower has been out since injuring his knee during the first State of Origin match and was set to return some weeks ago before suffering a different injury to the same knee.

With Panthers coach John Lang admitting his side is in a hole, the return of Gower can only help Penrith in their quest for a top four finish this season.

?I don't think there's any point in trying to quantify how disappointed I am,? Lang said at the post-match media conference following Penrith?s loss to Souths on Sunday. ?You've got to deal in realities. The bottom line is we got belted last week and we got belted again this week. I'd be disappointed in them if they weren't training hard, if their attitude wasn't right. I've got some thoughts on what we need to do as a group and we'll be doing some of those things.

?This is sort of a big dip ... but there are strategies we can work on, things we can put in place, so we'll see how we go. I've been in this situation before and there's no easy out. Two things I've found: One is that big soul searching sessions don't work. You come out of them feeling like you want to cut your throat, so we won't be doing any of those. And the other thing I've found is you've just got to keep applying yourself week in, week out. Sometimes you've just got to wait for the wheel to turn.?

Penrith haven?t confirmed if Gower will play on Saturday afternoon but he is expected to be at least named in the side to play the Raiders this afternoon. His return would give Penrith their first-choice halves combination of Gower and Preston Campbell back for the first time in over a month.

Penrith are currently sitting in fifth spot on the NRL ladder and have a much-needed bye next weekend.