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Injury woes continue for Knights
STRUGGLING York City Knights are refusing to panic buy despite seeing another player depart and James Haynes suffer another injury setback.
Hooker John Gay is having to leave Huntington Stadium due to work commitments and so becomes the seventh player to exit in the past few weeks.
And Haynes’ situation remains unclear, after the latest procedure to rectify the problems affecting a knee and his sciatic nerve failed. The 23-year-old, who has yet to play this season, was set to have another scan this week.
However, player-boss Chris Thorman, while saying eyes are being kept peeled for new recruits, says the club will not be rushed into signings, despite their awful start to the Championship season of four straight defeats, a Challenge Cup KO and the fact only 19 players were available for Sunday’s cup loss to Sheffield.
“We don’t want to do that,” he said. “This season in many ways is about building. We’ve found out some players aren’t quite ready and some are good enough. We certainly won’t be panic buying.”
However, he did not disguise his frustration. “We knew there’d be injuries but we probably didn’t envisage getting injuries plus people leaving plus the current dual-reg situation, which is out of our hands.”
As for the latest setbacks, he said: “John works and also studies at college and basically he was struggling to get to training.
“He enjoys it here but doesn’t want to mess people around and feels this is the best thing to do. It’s understandable. When his studies finish, he could come back.
“James (Haynes’) problem is very frustrating. We know what he’s capable of.
“He actually trained (on Tuesday night) as the physio says it won’t make the problem worse but he’s nowhere near 100 per cent.
“I feel for him. He’s a competitor and the sort of person we need on the field. Hopefully the MRI scan will give a better indication of what’s wrong.”
The other six to recently leave Huntington Stadium were Tommy Haughey, who has re-signed for Hunslet, Lee Williams, and the four dual-registration players in Chris Green, Laurence Pearce, Ben Hellewell and Brooke Broughton, who have all been recalled by their parent clubs.
Gay, Williams and Pearce made only one substitute appearance between them, while Haughey was generally disappointing and Joe Hemmings has emerged as a direct replacement for Broughton in the back row. But Pearce and Hellewell had showed up well, the former voted Player of the Month for March, and Thorman admitted: “They all strengthened the squad and even if not playing it put pressure on others to perform.”
The squad has been boosted by the return of prop star Nathan Freer from Featherstone, but plans to add two dual-reg lads from Castleford, in half-back Ben Johnson and second-row John Davies, have been put on the backburner due to the Tigers’ demands.
Additionally, the long-term injuries to Haynes and Waine Pryce means Thorman will still only have 23 first-team squadmen to pick from for Sunday’s visit of Batley – including nine who are rookies at Championship level and another five who have only the 2011 campaign behind them.
Those 23 includes prop Paul King, who, while a standout performer, has only played twice this season due to injury or illness, Ed Smith, who has been out for four weeks and was denied a run-out last night as the reserves match at Halifax was postponed, and Brett Turner, who is also returning from injury.
It also includes Jack Stearman, who will be unavailable for two games next month as he goes to Cyprus for twin Joe’s wedding.
Meanwhile, the Knights have two hospitality boxes available for Sunday’s match. They includes access to the sponsors’ lounge from 12.30pm, a two-course pre-match meal for ten people, complimentary programmes, tannoy announcements and a signed framed Knights team photograph.
For more information or to book, phone Ross Potter on 07949 966686 or the Knights office on 01904 767404.