HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS caretaker head coach Chris Thorman has lost two more players to injury but could have four back in the reckoning for Sunday’s home game with Salford Red Devils.
He is looking for his first win since taking charge on a temporary basis following Rick Stone’s sacking.
Huddersfield drew against Leeds Rhinos on Good Friday, lost to Catalans Dragons in France on Easter Monday and - despite a fine second half fightback - fell again at home to Castleford Tigers last Sunday.
Thorman was missing ten players that afternoon so is looking for positive news on the injury front every day as he seeks to kick-start their season.
“I lost both of my starting back-rowers in the first-half against Castleford in Michael Lawrence and Dale Ferguson, both with minor hamstring injuries,” he said.
“They’re not available this weekend but are being constantly assessed.
“On the flipside, with the head-knocks, Kruise (Leeming) will be available for selection and so will Alex Mellor who passed his head-test.
“Colton Roche failed his first head-test but we’re pretty confident that he’ll pass his head test today.
“That gives us a few more people back for selection and just to have more bodies on the training field, because the more you have there it allows you to train so much better.
“We’re constantly assessing Danny Brough and whether he quite makes it to the line for the game. He’s really positive and wants to play, but I’m not sure yet.”
Salford have lost three of their last four games including a 22-6 defeat at Warrington on Saturday and sit tenth, just one place and one point above Huddersfield.
Clearly, Sunday offers both sides a fine chance to give some much-needed momentum to their campaign.
“I think they’re a good team and have had some injuries themselves, but we certainly won’t be underestimating them,” added Thorman.
“I’ve heard or read somewhere this week that they’re our bogey team, and maybe they are.
“They’re very well-coached. I’ve a lot of time for their coaching staff and S&C staff.
“(Ex-Giants conditioner) Greg Brown’s there, I’m good friends with Martin Gleeson there assistant and I think Ian Watson is doing a really good job coaching there, so we won’t be taking anything for granted going against them.
“But at the same time our focus will be on what the Huddersfield Giants need to do and we’re confident if we can fix up our starts to games. The Castleford defeat was so disappointing in that I had to give them a rollicking at half-time to get a response, but it proves what we are capable of.
“There was a lot to be positive about from the Castleford game. If we can replicate that offensive structure and shape that we’ve been practicing and shore up defensively…
“With Mark Andrews now on board as Head of Performance we’ve been really scrutinising our ruck D, so if we can make an improvement there then we’re confident of a good performance.”
Thorman accepts results must come soon if they are to avoid the Qualifiers.
“There’s no two ways about it - we need some wins,” he said.
“We’re aware of that. (But) as a coach I have to be very aware of the faces that are in front of me going through video sessions.
“I’ve got some really young, inexperienced blokes that are probably already feeling a bit of pressure because they haven’t played a lot at this level.
“But saying that, we still have enough experience within the team to acknowledge the significance and the importance of the position that we’re currently in, we’re not naïve enough to not understand that.”
On his own position, Thorman added: “Going forwards, regardless of what happens, I’m in a position that I’m really privileged to be in and I’m really enjoying my day to day involvement with the Club from a more senior position.
“But I’m just doing my best for the Club right now and I’ll continue to do whatever the Club needs me to do.”