IAIN Thornley’s injury nightmare is almost over.
The double-winning centre has played just ONE GAME in the last 14 months.
He should be causing havoc and he’s not doing that yetShaun Wane
But he is inching closer to a comeback after returning to full training, and coach Shaun Wane is looking forward to seeing him back in action again.
“Iain is running again, he’s doing everything in training,” he said.
“He’s a very good player and I need someone who can pressure the back-row as well, and having Joel in the mix (for a forward spot) makes us a different team.
“As well as Ian’s qualities, he creates pressure in other positions when he’s fit.”
Academy-product Thornley rejoined the club in 2012 after a spell playing rugby union for Sale Sharks.
He played in the following year’s Challenge Cup Final and Grand Final and started 2014 in prolific form, scoring nine tries in as many matches before his horror run of luck began.
He spent four months on the sidelines recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.
And after returning to action against Widnes in August, he suffered a serious knee injury in training the following week.
Although the centre has amassed 45 games for his hometown club, Wane believes they have yet to see the best of the 23-year-old.
“He’s huge, 110kg and a big athlete,” said the coach. “But we’ve not got the best out of him yet.
“He should be causing havoc and he’s not doing that yet.
“He has the potential and that’s my job to make sure he reaches that.
“I think he just needs a desire and belief of what he’s capable of.
“He’s not a naturally aggressive person, he’s not Micky McIlorum or (John) Bateman, he’s a genuinely nice person.
“He just needs that fire in the belly and understand the need to hurt people.”
Wane may opt to send Thornley on dual-registration to Championship club Workington to gain some confidence and build up his
“I need him to play somewhere before I rush him in the team, just so he feels confident that he can get a whack on the knee,” he added.