JACOB FAIRBANK will make his senior debut as part of a strong Giants side to face Batley at Mount Pleasant in Sunday’s eagerly-awaited Challenge Cup derby clash (3.00).
The 20-year-old back-row forward has been a big hit on loan with Halifax in the Co-operative Championship this season.
Those performances have caught the eye of the coaching staff back at the Galpharm, with Fairbank pencilled in to join fellow youngsters Jamie Cording, Jon Molloy and Kyle Wood in this weekend’s Cup squad.
Cording, Molloy and Wood have all featured for the Giants in Super League this season and will join up with the likes of David Hodgson, Danny Kirmond and Shaun Lunt, who all missed the trip to Catalan Dragons.
But the bulk of this weekend’s squad were involved in the action in the South of France, with assistant coach Paul Anderson making it clear the Giants are treating their hosts from the Championship with the utmost respect.
“We’ve obviously done our homework on Batley, and we know they are capable of causing us problems if we don’t do our job well,” said Anderson.
“But we are determined to be in the hat for Sunday’s draw, and the team that goes out there will be a strong one that will pay Batley the respect they deserve.
“That’s why the likes of Luke O’Donnell will be lining up against them, as well as players like Bob Fairbank.
“And the reason why Bob is there is because he deserves to be.
“We’ve been watching him closely at Halifax, he’s been going really well and playing a lot of minutes.
“At this stage, the thought is to give him a chance off the bench, and we’re all confident he’ll take that chance extremely well.
“If we didn’t think he was up to it, then he wouldn’t be considered.”
Definitely ruled out for Sunday at this stage are the suspended Graeme Horne (he picked up a one-match ban for an illegal-tackle against Catalan) and injured trio David Fa’alogo (hamstring), Keith Mason (knee) and Dale Ferguson (hand).
But Anderson has revealed the scan on the injury Ferguson picked up in France has come back positively.
“The problem Fergy had was that some scar tissue became dislodged from a previous injury,” added Anderson.
“So, luckily, it isn’t a break and he could be back for St Helens next weekend.”