Huddersfield Giants look set to face climbing the mountain to avoid Super League’s Middle 8s lacking more key personnel after their Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Wakefield Trinity..

The Giants’ battle to avoid relegation may be exacerbated by injuries to centre Joe Wardle, who limped off with a knee problem, full-back Scott Grix, who took an early knock but played on, and prop forward Sam Rapira, whose ever-present record in his first season with the club is threatened by a shoulder problem.

The trio sustained the injuries in the 28-16 reversal at home to Wakefield and they join props Daniel Smith and Craig Huby and second rower Sebastine Ikahihifo on the sidelines.

The Giants next Super League outing is against league leaders Hull FC at the John Smith’s Stadium on Thursday night.

READ MORE: We were second best for too long admits Huddersfield Giants stand-in coach Andy Kelly

With four games remaining the Giants can still mathematically reach the top eight, but stand-in coach Andy Kelly was just wanting the side to concentrate of getting wins under their belts.

“The top eight is a difficult for us mathematically and I think realistically that all we can do – whatever the outcome happens to be – is to try and ensure we are in the best of form,” said Kelly.

“We can set our sights on the top eight, but we can’t worry about getting there. What we have to do is concentrate on improving our form week-in week-out .

“If we can start to play at the right level then hopefully the rest should take care of itself.

“We have a good team but they have to realise that they are up to the job.”

Caretaker coach Kelly had no complaints over the Challenge Cup result against Wakefield.

“It was a really poor start to the game,” he said.

“We accumulated a 14-point deficit and that was always going to be tough against a side like Wakefield, who once they get tails up are hard to suppress.

“Wakefield played well, they were very clinical at times.”

Kelly, who has stepped into the breach following the sacking of Paul Anderson, is not in the running for the job in the long term and, although he expects to be in charge for next Thursday’s visit of league leaders Hull FC, he is due to take the England academy team on their tour to Australia a week later.

“I know they’ve had plenty of applicants,” Kelly said.

“I’ll continue to do the job while ever I’m asked to do it – I doubt there will be an appointment before next Thursday.”

READ MORE: Why are so many interested in the coaching job at Huddersfield Giants?

Wakefield coach Chris Chester hailed one of his team’s best performances of the year after the victory at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Chester guided unfancied Hull KR all the way to Wembley in 2015 and is now just 80 minutes away from repeating the feat with his new club, although he insists they still have unfinished work in Super League.

“It’s a great feeling to be in the next round of the Challenge Cup,” he said.

“It’s a long time since this club have been involved in semi-finals and finals and it would be great to create our own bit of history.

“But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’ve got a Super League campaign to worry about for the next four or five weeks and we want to have a good go at the top eight. We still need another win to guarantee us a place.

“The challenge for us now is to find some consistency.”