GIANTS star Kevin Brown is on the verge of withdrawing from the England squad.
The 22-year-old half-back again misses a Federation Shield clash tomorrow when the host nation takes on Samoa at Hull's KC Stadium (3.00).
Brown was struggling with a knee injury at the end of the Super League season, and it is still causing him problems.
It had been hoped he would have been fit enough to feature for England at some stage.
But with just tomorrow's game and next Sunday's Shield final left to play, Brown is losing his race against time.
Although that's bad news for the player, it's good news for the Giants, who should welcome Brown back for pre-season training in good condition.
However, assistant coach Keiron Purtill does have great sympathy for the player.
"Kevin missed for England last year in a bid to get over his knocks," revealed Purtill, who has been overseeing coaching matters at the Giants in the absence of Jon Sharp, who is in Australia with Great Britain.
"And now it looks like he'll be missing out again.
"Kevin has been working exceptionally hard over the past few weeks trying to get himself fit, but I now think he is on the point of admitting defeat.
"The knee injury he's got is one that doesn't require surgery, it's one where rest is the most effective course of treatment.
"We're all gutted at the Giants that he's going to miss out for England again.
"But it does mean he'll return to the club fully fit, and that's great news for the club!"