Huddersfield Giants teenage three-quarter Jacob Wardle has suffered a pre-season setback.
The 19-year-old, who can operate on the wing or in the centres, has injured an ankle and could face up to a month out of action.
It is a blow for Wardle, the younger brother of former Giants player Joe, who had been looking to add to the one first team outing he earned in the 2016 season.
He spent last season out of action due to a knee problem, but had returned to action in the 26-22 pre-season friendly defeat at Wakefield Trinity where he impressed on the wing during the second half of the Belle Vue clash.
With club captain Leroy Cudjoe also counted out for the start to the new Super League season as he works his way back to fitness after knee surgery, it points to utility man Lee Gaskell probably getting the nod to be alongside Jordan Turner in the centres for the opening game of the campaign at Hull FC next Thursday night.
Gaskell, who started and scored a try in the pre-season game against Trinity, is in positive mood ahead of the season’s start and said: “Obviously it was good to get a few minutes under my belt at Wakefield and blow the cobwebs off really.
“The run out also helped as there are a few people who are new to the team and who were wanting to get used to the new system.”
Gaskell dislocated a finger in the pre-season outing, but says he is fully fit and believes the Giants are looking good going into the new season.
“We can go as far as we want this season,” said Gaskell.
“If we believe in ourselves there’s no reason why we can’t achieve anything we want to.”
Last term at the KCom Stadium the signing from Bradford Bulls scored a hat trick in a 46-18 win, but Gaskell consigned that result to history.
“It was good but that means nothing now,” said Gaskell.
“It was good to get the win as we were pushing for the top four, but we faded towards the end of the season.
“We need to try and better that this time and get as many wins as early as possible.”