Huddersfield boss provides positive injury update on Jake Connor

Sebastian Sternik
Jake Connor Huddersfield Giants SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Huddersfield’s star signing Jake Connor may return to action sooner than expected as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

Connor, who is a graduate of Huddersfield’s academy, returned to the club ahead of the 2023 season. 

The 28-year-old has been recovering from knee surgery and was not expected to feature in Ian Watson’s plans until at least the fifth round of the new Super League season. 

He told Giants TV in late January: “I’m starting to feel good now, it’s been over four-and-a-half months since my knee operation, but I’ve had a hand operation as well so it’s been quite tough mentally not just physically.

“I think it’s about six weeks from starting on the field onwards depending on how I feel. I’m hoping to be back about round five.”

Jake Connor could be back earlier than expected

Watson was quizzed about his new signing following Sunday’s 48-10 pre-season defeat away at Castleford Tigers. 

When asked whether the Round Five clash with St Helens remained the goal for his return, the Giants boss said: “Maybe earlier than that. He’s trekking real well. He’s doing everything he needs to do. 

“He is training well, his nutrition is good. He is in a really good place mentally. Hopefully we can shave a bit of time off that and get him back out a little bit earlier.”

Huddersfield begin their season against Warrington on February 24. The Giants were initially pencilled in to face champions St Helens the week before but it was postponed due to the Saints playing in the World Club Challenge.

Watson admitted he does have a starting line-up in mind for the home encounter, though certain positions are still up for grabs. 

“There’s a few places obviously to be ironed out within the 17,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll come through in the next few weeks.

“Generally got a good idea of what’s going to start the season. Today will have given us a good indication if there’s some people out of that group whether they’re ready or not ready.”

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Despite losing heavily, Watson was impressed with a couple of players, with Jamaica star Ashton Golding being the standout.

He added: “I thought Ash Golding came on with a load of energy. Matty English did the same – came on with some energy. I think it’s what we needed at the time.

“The first half was quite competitive without being overly competitive if that makes sense. But it needed probably a little bit more input of energy from our guys. I thought Ash Goulding and Matty English brought it from the bench along with Owen Trout. 

“We had a little training run last week against London but that was the first outing in a proper game situation for us to be fair, with the crowd and everything else. 

“It was a good chance for some of the squad guys to get some minutes under their belt and see where they’re at and understand the levels they need to get to. It’s a tough place to come to.

“We’ve got a lot of answers out of that to be fair to find out where people are at; and where people need to improve going forward.”

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