GARY THORNTON is bracing himself for some front-row headaches when York City Knights kick off their 2013 campaign – even if they don’t concern crocked duo Adam Sullivan and Jack Lee.
Prop Sullivan and hooker Lee, as reported by The Press, have missed some sessions due to knee injuries, but the club have now learned that the former does not need major surgery and should be okay for the Championship opener in February, while the latter is back in full training, with initial fears of major ligament damage all but abated.
However, doubts are growing about new recruit Clark Thompson’s future at Huntington Stadium, while there are also question marks over marquee prop Paul King’s availability in the immediate term.
Head coach Thornton was relieved to receive his good news but admitted he was having to “manage” the situations with Thompson and former Super League star King.“Sully has been for a scan and he needs some kind of procedure but it’s not major surgery,” said Thornton.
“We’re waiting for a date and details but I don’t think the rehab is too long so we’re confident he will be ready for the start of the season.
“Jack’s now training fine. We’re still monitoring it but it now seems to be nothing major to worry about.”
Both Thompson and King currently have work concerns outside of rugby, with the former seemingly unlikely to alter the shift patterns that prevent him from training, and the latter needing to take time out for his building business.
Thornton did not make an issue of King’s situation. “We’ve not seen a lot of him but he has got his own training programme. He’s trying to focus on his business, and he has also had those niggling injuries from last year that probably need some time, so he’s a bit limited as to what he can do anyway.
“We want him to get his business life sorted and his injuries sorted and then he can do his work on the field for us.
“It’s not ideal but it’s something we have to manage. They’re part-time players and it’s a work-life balance thing. We’re laying down rules that people have to abide by but sometimes people have higher priorities. We’re giving him a bit of time and space to get it resolved.”
On Thompson, whom Thornton coached in Castleford’s academy, the head coach said: “I think he would make a great impact on the Championship and be a great player for us, but it seems he might not be able to resolve his work patterns.”
The arrival of Luke Stenchion means the Knights still have some competition for places up front, while former Wakefield junior prop Jake Joynt has been joined on trial by strapping soldier Shane Sutton to offer further front-row options. Thornton said the link-up with Hull FC was something they could fall back on, too, if they needed more front-row fire.
Six-footer Sutton, who first asked for a trial last season, has been training with the squad and will get a run-out in the pre-season friendlies.