GIANTS coach Tony Smith today dismissed speculation linking him with Wigan as he wrestled with a worrying injury crisis in the build-up to tomorrow's crucial Super League clash at London.
Versatile Papuan star Stanley Gene (shoulder) and tough Aussie back row Jarrod O'Doherty (sternum) are both out of a Griffin Park showdown which both sides need to win in order to keep play-off hopes on track.
Centre or forward Eorl Crabtree is also sidelined with a broken thumb while there are worries over full-back Paul Reilly and hooker Darren Turner (both ankle) and South African forward Jamie Bloem (groin).
It all adds up to a big headache for Smith, who is being talked of as a possible Wigan target in the wake of Stuart Raper's announcement that he is to return home to Australia at the end of this season.
Smith, who is contracted only to the end of this campaign and who is yet to talk new terms with Huddersfield, said: "Stuart's announcement came totally out of the blue, and to be fair, there isn't a coach in the game who wouldn't be flattered if a club of Wigan's stature came calling.
"But Wigan haven't been in contact with me and I haven't been in contact with them, and at this moment, my only interest is in taking two points from tomorrow's game at London."
Huddersfield, of course, will be aiming to bounce back from the disappointment of their last-gasp 22-18 defeat at St Helens on Friday, when Paul Wellens' try denied them a third successive win over a top-five team.
Making the final top six is the aim, and while Smith's 10th-placed side are now five points adrift of the play-off zone after Castleford's 32-4 derby triumph at Wakefield on Saturday, they can close the gap again by winning their game in hand in the capital tomorrow.
But the absence of Gene and O'Doherty is a problem for a coach who had previously enjoyed an injury-free spell which coincided with the fine wins over Wigan and Leeds.
The 29-year-old former Hull KR and Hull man Gene has played at centre, stand-off, scrum half, second row and loose-forward this season, causing problems with his pace and creativity in all those positions.
He took a knock at Knowsley Road and while he was able to play on, the joint became sore over the weekend.
Former Newcastle Knights man O'Doherty, 25, has started every match this season, adding power and workrate to the pack.
He picked up his chest injury in the opening 10 minutes against Saints, and as well as London, could miss Sunday's home clash with Hull and even the trip to Bradford seven days after that.
Huddersfield, incidentally, have turned down a request from Sky to bring the Hull match forward to Friday evening for live coverage.
That would have left them facing a gruelling schedule of three crucial outings in eight days.