Rick Stone is hoping a new but experienced half-back partnership will steer the Giants to a Super League Magic Weekend triumph over Catalans Dragons at Newcastle on Sunday.
The Huddersfield boss brought in Leigh playmaker Martyn Ridyard on a month’s loan at the weekend, and he looks certain to come straight in for the suspended Danny Brough for the showcase St James’ Park clash.
And with Lee Gaskell back in the frame after recovering from a hamstring strain, a Ridyard-Gaskell midfield combination looks on the cards.
That would be a shame for teenage half-back Sam Wood who has been acquitting himself well in the top flight over the past month.
But Stone has made it clear he’s eager to see Ridyard in action in the claret and gold as soon as possible – and most probably with Gaskell by his side.
“He’s an experienced campaigner, he’s done it before and we need a bloke who can manage the game and probably take a bit of the Danny Brough role doing a bit of kicking for us and help us get around the park,” explained Stone.
“Lee Gaskell should be back as well, there’s a fair chance that they might form a partnership in the halves for this week.
“Having Lee back will be a boost and it will present another halves combination for us for the first time in a while.
“Lee and Martyn are both pretty experienced players and they had their first training session together on Monday and it’s looking more likely that they will play.
“And the more training sessions they get under their belts together, the more thair combination will improve.”
Although the absence of Brough is a big blow for the Giants, Stone’s side is more than strong enough to see off a French opponent that’s been decimated by injuries.
And that’s also the case despite the fact that experienced back-row forwards Ukuma Ta’ai (back), Michael Lawrence (knee) and Tom Symonds (knee) remain sidelined for the men from West Yorkshire.
“Hopefully, having last weekend off because of our early Challenge Cup exit will mean we look a lot fresher this weekend,” added Stone, who also welcomes back captain Leroy Cudjoe following a knee problem.
“We were a pretty busted squad going into our enforced break, so we don’t have any excuses against Catalans.”