GIANTS duo Stephen Wild and Danny Kirmond are finally training with the full Super League XV squad.
The two back-rowers have spent until now with the club’s rehabilitation team following knee surgery.
But that process is now complete, and former Great Britain international Wild and rising star Kirmond will spend at least the next two weeks working on the training pitch with their teammates in bid to get back into Super League contention.
It means their returns could be in around three weeks’ time and could coincide with that of prop Keith Mason, who is recovering well from the torn pectoral muscle he suffered in his side’s opening-night triumph over Bradford Bulls.
Young hooker Keal Carlile may also be available before the end of next month and could be closely followed by Brad Drew. Like Wild and Kirmond, these two have also had knee injuries.
Once they return it would leave another back-row forward, Simon Finnigan, as the only man still in rehab.
The 28-year-old underwent neck and shoulder surgery during the off-season, with a return date not having been set at this stage.
But even though Finnigan remains a long-term absentee, it looks as if head coach Nathan Brown could have some massive selection headaches over the next few months – not that the Galpharm chief is complaining, of course!
In fact, he can’t wait to start having to make the tough choices.
“Even though we’ve started the year with several players in rehab, we’ve already had to make some difficult selection choices,” said Brown, who was unable to find places for the likes of experienced ex-international duo Martin Aspinwall and Paul Whatuira in the side that thrashed Hull KR 30-0 at Craven Park six days ago.
“And, hopefully, those decisions will become even harder in the next few weeks when we start to get more blokes back.
“But having a thicker squad and having more options is something we were looking for.
“As everyone knows, towards the end of last season we lost our fair share of players through injury as a long and successful season took its toll. It’s something we don’t want to see repeated this time around.
“That’s obviously going to help when we get more players back and we can start rotating the squad. Hopefully, that time isn’t going to be too far away.
“Having Wildy and Danny back working with the squad is excellent, and they could be back about the same time as Keith. That would obviously increase our options significantly.
“The more healthy bodies you’ve got the better, and having competition for places is also something you strive for.”
Brown will be particularly keen to have as many players back as possible for the start of April.
On Good Friday, April 2, the Giants host Catalans Dragons before heading to Salford City Reds on Easter Monday (April 5).
Then, four days later (Friday, April 9), Huddersfield are at home to Castleford Tigers in front of the Sky TV cameras.
That’s a tough and punishing week for anyone, although it could be the Tigers who could suffer the most.
For starters, they don’t exactly boast the biggest squad in the world, and they might not relish the prospect of a trip to the Galpharm on the back of a Good Friday trip to arch rivals Wakefield and then an Easter Monday home clash against St Helens!
Brad Drew will be the guest speaker at the Senior Giants meeting in the English Partnership Suite at the Galpharm Stadium next Wednesday (2.15).