COMPETITION for back-row spots is set to be be ratcheted up by the return of tackle-machine Harrison Hansen next week.
The 25-year-old has been sidelined for the past month with a knee injury suffered in Easter Monday’s 26-0 victory at Wakefield.
Hansen was originally ruled out for up to six weeks but at the mid-way point of his recovery, Michael Maguire thought a precautionary extra two weeks may be tagged onto that time-frame.
However, he has made rapid progress in the last few days and could be in the frame to make a comeback in front of his home fans against Hull KR next Monday. Maguire said: “Harrison has turned the corner with his recovery and come on in leaps and bounds over the last week or so.
“He’s worked very hard and done everything we’ve asked of him, and there’s a chance he could be right for Monday.
“That’s not 100 per cent certain, but he’s getting very close to being fit again.
“It’ll be good to have him back on board.”
Academy-product Hansen has the unusual claim of having represented three countries – England (U18s), New Zealand and Samoa.
He was an ever-present member of the side until suffering his injury last month, and his return will present Maguire with a selection headache.
Though the coach has switched two back-rowers to new positions – Lee Mossop (prop) and Joel Tomkins (centre) – he still has Ryan Hoffman and young charges Liam Farrell and Chris Tuson jostling for positions.
George Carmont may also be back to reclaim his centre spot after missing last Sunday’s 26-22 victory at Bradford with a calf injury, but Darrell Goulding pressed his claims for a place in the side with several eye-catching touches against the Bulls, including a sweet inside ball for Pat Richards’ second try which ultimately proved decisive.
That victory booked the Warriors passage into the quarter-finals – and a mouth-watering tie against Cup holders Warrington.
Not surprisingly, the BBC yesterday confirmed they have chosen that game for live broadcast on Saturday, July 23 (kick-off 4.30pm, BBC2). Hull FC’s tie against Leeds will be shown the following day on the same channel, kick-off 3.30pm.
The final at Wembley Stadium is on Saturday August 27.