KEYED-UP Giants coach Tony Smith has praised the progress made by Iain Morrison as the rookie forward prepares to return to former club London Broncos tonight (8.00).

With experienced operators Stanley Gene (shoulder) and Jarrod O'Doherty (sternum) ruled out and Paul Reilly (ankle), Darren Turner (ankle) and Jamie Bloem (groin) facing fitness tests, Huddersfield's squad strength is set to be put to the test in the rearranged Super League game at Griffin Park.

Utility back Ben Cooper and scrum half Paul White were both on the bus which left the McAlpine this morning as Smith finalised plans for a match which could hold the key to the Giants' play-off chances.

London are level on 17 points with Warrington and two behind Castleford, who currently occupy the last of the crucial top-six positions.

But the Broncos have two games in hand on both those rivals, and have played one less than the Giants, who are three points behind them.

"It's a big match, because we can make up ground on the sides above us in the table," added Smith, whose side host Hull on Sunday.

"We've got some injury problems after the St Helens game (the Giants were unlucky to suffer a last-gasp 22-18 setback at Knowsley Road on Friday).

"But we have to deal with the situation and get on with the job, and I've got full confidence in the players who will be coming in."

Morrison could be in line for only his second start against Tony Rea's inconsistent side, who have yet to win at home this season after going down 28-12 to Wigan on Friday.

The London-born player was released when the Broncos disbanded their Academy side last year, and having seen teammates Danny Thomas, Chris Archer and Joe Mbu join the Giants on loan, asked for a trial.

Smith liked what he saw and after the 20-year-old made his debut in the Challenge Cup clash at Hunslet then had a string of Super League outings as a part-time player, last month awarded him a full-time contract which runs through to the end of next season.

"Iain is making great progress and is learning fast," said Smith.

"Going back to London should add a little edge to his performance and it's a chance to show them what they missed out on."

London keep the side which lost to Wigan, meaning former Giants men Chris Thorman and Richard Marshall start at scrum half and prop.

"We know all about Chris and Richard, and London have two other players, Dennis Moran and Jim Dymock, who I coached at Parramatta, so I'll be aiming to use a little inside knowledge," said Smith.

"London are inconsistent, but they can be brilliant on their day, and we know they'll be desperate to get that elusive first home win, so it's down to us to impose our game on them."


London: Roy; Sykes, Jackson, Martin, King; Purdham, Thorman; Bawden, Budworth, Marshall, Retchless, Peden, Dymock: Subs: Moran, Gallagher, Kennedy, Stephenson.

Giants (from): Reilly, O'Hare, Costin, Bailey, St Hilaire, March, Fleary, Turner, Gannon, Roarty, Bloem, McNamara, Slicker, Holroyd, Morrison, Whittaker, Cooper, White, Grayshon.

Referee: Bob Connolly (Wigan).

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