Huddersfield Giants could be welcoming back Australian forward Tom Symonds as soon as Friday.
The 29-year-old second rower, signed from Manly Sea Eagles in 2016, has been out since last season with a knee injury that required surgery.
It was hoped that Symonds would face Wakefield Trinity in the pre-season clash at Belle Vue, but a setback denied him that opportunity and has led to him not getting under way in 2018.
However, Giants head coach Rick Stone is hopeful of having Symonds back in action against their West Yorkshire rivals in Super League at Trinity on Friday night (7.45).
“Tom has been in training this week and with a couple more sessions who knows? said Stone.
“We had hoped he would have played at Wakefield before the start of the season, but he had a bit of a setback.
“But if he goes at his best this week then maybe he will be back on the bench at Wakefield.”
The Giants other most pressing fitness issue prior to the derby clash with their rivals, who currently sit second in the Super League table with three wins from three matches, is that of prop forward Adam Walne.
The 27-year-old, who was signed from Salford Red Devils in the close season, sustained a knee injury in the 26-12 home defeat at the hands of St Helens in the last round of matches and will face a fitness test ahead of the trip to Wakefield.
“We had a few bumps and bruises against Saints, but Adam has picked up a medial knee ligament strain which is the main problem,” said Stone.
“Just how quickly that settles down we will have to see and as it is he probably will face a test tomorrow (Thursday).”
However, Friday’s game may well arrive too soon for prop forward Shannon Wakeman and back rower Michael Lawrence.
Both the 28-year-old Italian international Wakeman and homegrown product Lawrence have missed matches due to hamstring injuries and the Trinity clash could be too soon for a return.
“Michael and Shannon both have picked up hamstring strains,” explained Stone.
“They are both getting closer, but just if they are close enough to play at Wakefield it is not something we can say right now.”
However, club captain Leroy Cudjoe is facing a prolonged wait on the sidelines as he works on his rehabilitation following surgery on a knee injury.
“Leroy is still facing another few weeks before he will be playing,” said Stone.
“He has not been able to do any natural running as yet and he needs to get out on the grass.
“At the moment his return is really an open-ended date and we just have to take it each stage as it comes.”
Cudjoe’s progress could be hampered by the current wintry weather, but Stone was happy that preparations for Friday night should not be disrupted too much.
“While there is snow it is not too bad,” said Stone.
“We have the use of the Sports Barn on Leeds Road, so we will be looking to utilise that.
“How much we get outside this week we can’t be sure, we will just have to see how we go.
“But there is every chance that everyone else is in the same boat and Wakefield could be facing this too.”
The stand-in Leigh Centurions assistant coach Paul Anderson is the club’s former player and not the ex-Giants coach as reported in Tuesday’s Examiner Sport.
Betfred Super League: Hull KR v Castleford Tigers (7.45, Sky)
Betfred Super League: Hull FC v Warrington Wolves (7.45), Leeds Rhinos v Catalans Dragons (7.45), Wakefield Trinity v Huddersfield Giants (7.45, Sky), St Helens v Salford Red Devils (8.0), Wigan Warriors v Widnes Vikings (8.0)
Betfred Championship: Toulouse v Rochdale Hornets (4.0)
National Conference, Premier Division (2.30 unless stated): Egremont Rangers v Myton Warriors (2.30), Hunslet Parkside v Normanton Knights, Kells v Rochdale Mayfield, Wath Brow Hornets v Underbank Rangers, West Hull v Siddal, Wigan St Patricks v Thatto Heath (4.30)
Betfred Championship (all 3.0): Barrow Raiders v Dewsbury Rams, Batley Bulldogs v Halifax, Leigh Centurions v Featherstone Rovers, Sheffield Eagles v London Broncos, Swinton Lions v Toronto Wolfpack
Betfred League One (all 3.0): Bradford Bulls v London Skolars, Coventry v York City Knights, Hunslet v Whitehaven, Newcastle Thunder v Keighley Cougars, Oldham Roughyeds v Hemel Stags, South Wales v Doncaster, Workington Town v Crusaders