Huge boost for Huddersfield as Ian Watson makes major decision on Jake Connor

Josh McAllister
Jake Connor Huddersfield Giants SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Ian Watson has confirmed that Jake Connor will make his first appearance of the year, and his first back at Huddersfield, against St Helens this Thursday. 

Connor, 28, made his return to the John Smith’s Stadium on a three-year-deal from Hull during the off-season. 

The full-back underwent knee surgery during pre-season, and has been sidelined ever since.

Watson has been teasing Connor’s return in the last few weeks, but has confirmed that he will feature from the bench during the televised Round Six Super League fixture at the John Smith’s Stadium.

England international Connor finished the 2022 campaign with the most try-assists in Super League with 33, while he also bagged four tries himself in a disappointing year at the MKM Stadium. 

Watson confirms Jake Connor return

“He’ll play some part. We’ll start him on the bench and we’ll see where he gets to,” Watson said on Connor.

“He’s not ready for a full 80 minutes as yet just in terms of more fitness wise. But like we said earlier in pre-season, he’ll have to gather that through the season and build that up. He’s not a million miles from it. He’s been training really hard. 

“The session he had before the Wigan game probably nearly broke him to be fair in terms of fitness wise.

“He’s ready, he just obviously doesn’t have that match fitness yet. But he’ll pick that up as the season goes on.

“There’s no massive expectations on Jake to be fair. We just want him to come in and start finding his feet.He’s trained with the team, he actually ran with the starting team this week as well and looked really good and really comfortable in there as well.

“It’s about building him in the right way.” 

Josh Jones latest

Back-rower Josh Jones will miss Thursday’s home fixture due to a failed head injury assessment sustained in the loss to Wigan. And Watson has revealed that the 29-year-old has also been struggling through illness since.

“He’s had a little bit of a bug this week as well, so he’s not been in all week,” Watson explained.

“The medical team have been on top of it and have been speaking to him.

“He came in on Monday himself because he wasn’t feeling too good, so the medical team wanted to double check that it was nothing to do with concussion.

“Potentially, he’ll be going through his graded return to play tomorrow.”

Matty English also continues to be sidelined. Sam Halsall and Innes Senior have been included in Huddersfield’s 21-man squad for the first time in 2023.

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