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Danny Nicklas to offer respite for injury-hit Knights
DANNY NICKLAS is poised to continue at York City Knights this weekend – finally offering the injury-hit club some respite from bad news aplenty.
However, Knights boss Gary Thornton appears increasingly concerned with the growing need to rely on partnership club Hull in the wake of the injury crisis at Huntington Stadium, especially after prop Josh Bowden became the latest dual-registered player to be recalled to the KC Stadium.
Half-back Nicklas is among the dual-reg aces who have been freed up by Hull to play in the Knights’ home Kingstone Press Championship clash with Workington, his availability having been in doubt after the Airlie Birds’ first-choice scrum-half, Brett Seymour, was placed on leave following a car crash.
It is a timely boost given stand-off Simon Brown has picked up a virus to add to his ongoing back problem, which hampered his performance at former club Sheffield last Friday and already left him a doubt for Sunday.
Again, though, all dual-reg players’ participation depends on how Hull come through their Friday night Super League match, tomorrow’s being against Castleford, leaving Thornton admitting that “managing” the system is not easy for the borrowing club.
“With Simon Brown only 50-50 we would’ve been struggling in the halves so I’m delighted Peter Gentle (Hull coach) has allowed Danny to come,” said Thornton. “Daniel Holdsworth is now fit for them, so Danny can play with us.
“However, it’s the usual scenario. If something happens to Daniel Holdsworth or Richard Horne (tomorrow), then Danny might get pulled. Those are the situations in which I work every weekend. Danny is next in line for Hull in their pivots.
“It would have been a big concern if he’d been pulled because, with Simon struggling, we would only have Jonny Presley left in the halves. Danny is pivotal to what we do.
“But we can’t be seen to be relying on dual-reg. It’s an issue I have to manage on a week by week basis.”
Jason Golden is out long-term after dislocating a shoulder at Sheffield, while captain James Ford remains sidelined by a groin strain picked up in the warm-up that night. Sam Scott, Matty Nicholson, Luke Stenchion, Ed Smith and Adam Sullivan all missed that match.
Thornton admitted he would have preferred to have been without so many players for the recent games against big-guns Batley, Halifax and Sheffield, rather than the upcoming clashes with Workington, Keighley and Doncaster, who are seen as rivals for a lower play-off berth.
He explained: “This is not being disrespectful to the teams we’re now playing, but I wanted to be at full strength for these games when you’re looking to pick up a lot of points. In some respects it is damage limitation when you’re playing the top four or five. You try to come out of those games with what you can.
“Against Sheffield, though, we got no points and picked up lots more injuries, so it was a double whammy.
“We’re missing key players now and it will be a tougher test for us against Workington because of it. We’ve brought in (Batley prop) Craig Potter and that alleviates some issues, but this is where we’re relying on dual-reg. I’m hoping Peter Gentle provides us with quality players to replace those we’ve lost. If he does, that’s the benefit of dual-reg to a club like us.
“In an ideal world, we would have our best 17 available but rugby league isn’t like that. It throws challenges at you every week.”
Dean Hadley and Jack Briscoe are set to continue on dual-reg at York this weekend but it was unclear yesterday if any more Airlie Birds would be made available, Bowden having been called up to Hull’s 19-man squad tomorrow, after Tom Lineham and Joe Arundel’s loss to Knights’ contention in previous weeks.
Centre Ben Crooks and forward Chris Green, both on the dual-reg list, were not in Hull’s squad having picked up knocks.
Meanwhile, threequarter Jack Latus has agreed terms with the Knights after a successful trial.