30 Jun 2021

Watson faces further injuries to first-team squad

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Ian Watson has confirmed that the injury sustained by Darnell McIntosh in last Friday's game will keep him out for the rest of the campaign. The winger has suffered a torn Achilles, which Watson described as a 'devastating blow' despite insisting the team have adequate cover in the position.  

"His Achilles has gone, which is the end of the season for him. He's been outstanding on the wing this season, so it's a devastating blow, but we have players who can cover that position" said Watson. 

Watson also provided an update on Matty English, who left the field with a head knock in the defeat to Hull FC, saying the young forward isn't suffering any adverse effects from the head knock, but will see a specialist next week as a precaution. 

"Matty English is fine, but he's had a lot of head knocks in the last few years and he's a young lad, so the medical team are just doing right by him and making sure he's okay. 

"They're taking him through the graded return to training, we knew he wasn't playing this week and he'll see a specialist next week so he'll do that and do everything he needs to do to make sure his own health is looked after."

The Giants Head Coach faces a nervous wait on Aidan Sezer also, after suffering an ankle injury on International Duty, could be missing for a minimum 8-10 weeks. 

"Aidan is out with an ankle injury and it depends what the next steps are: if he tries to rehab the injury or if he goes to see a specialist and has an operation. That's a decision for Aidan to think about, but he'll be a minimum 8-10 weeks. That's a bad blow"

The Giants are facing an long-term injury crisis, with a host of first-team players facing long layoffs from action, Watson confirmed. 

"We've got Jack Cogger, Lee Gaskell, Michael Lawrence, Joe Wardle, Adam O'Brien all missing for beyond 8 weeks. Joe [Wardle]'s injury is season ending, Aidan could be season ending and Adam O'Brien is close to season ending, if [O'Brien] is back it'll be towards the end of the season. Chris McQueen is in the squad, but he won't be in the 17 - he'll come into the squad for Tuesday's game against Castleford. James Cunningham, Chester Butler and Jon Luke Kirby are also missing.

Despite that, Watson was impressed with his side in training this week, and has been able to call on the younger members of the squad to bring fresh impetus and enthusiasm to the group.

"The week's training has been good, the younger guys bring lots of energy and I enjoy working with them. When we put in some of the All Stars guys, we're looking better squad wise. We're doing it tough but there's some younger guys coming in now and they bring enthusiasm and energy."

Watson confirmed that with injuries impacting the squad, the opportunity has arisen to give a debut to Will Pryce, Giants Academy half-back and son of the former Great Britain international, Leon. Watson has been impressed with the half-back after he joined up with the first-team in training this week.

"The academy staff have been really impressed with him since he's come back from a minor injury at the start of the season. He's maturing into a really good team player. They'll be eyes on him because of his name but we're looking for him to be himself and express himself on the field.

"He's got unbelievable ability and he's a good kid. We were concerned that it might be a little bit early, but we've brought him into training this week and he's trained impressively. The detail he's taken in from the sessions was impressive and he's been really professional. 

"He's ready. There's no point in holding him back."

Watch the full interview on GiantsTV!