Ash Handley on injury issue and Leeds Rhinos’ prospects ahead of Huddersfield Giants clash

ASH HANDLEY might be watching from the sidelines for the time being – but he’s backing his team-mates to get Leeds’ season back on track, starting at home to Huddersfield on Friday.

The long-serving winger is recovering from a rib injury sustained during the 34-8 home defeat by Warrington, a third loss in seven Super League matches this season, which left the Rhinos in eighth place.

Prop Tom Holroyd was also a first-half casualty, and was checked out at hospital like Handley, who will be aiming to build on a tally of seven tries in eight games this year when he returns.

“Tommy and I going off didn’t help, but it was still disappointing, because going into that game, we felt we could do a job on them,” reflected the 28-year-old.

“But we lost our way a little and I know the boys have been hurting. They really want to put it right.

“I watched Huddersfield against Hull (the Giants won 56-22 the following day) and they played well.

“But we know anyone can beat anyone in this league and, by playing the way we know we can, we can put a run together.”

Handley revealed he took a knock during the 26-6 round-six win at Castleford, with the injury aggravated by a big hit in the 26th minute against Warrington.

“I felt a bit of a pop, and I couldn’t breathe properly after it, so I had to come off,” he explained.

“I was able to walk off the field, but went to hospital to be checked out, and found it was cartilage damage rather than a break.

“It settled down over the next few days, and I’m normally a quick healer, so hopefully I’ll soon be back running, then we can go from there.”

Second rower James Bentley, who suffered a head knock at Castleford, remains a doubt for the visit of Huddersfield.

But Leeds hope Handley’s fellow winger David Fusitu’a could make a first appearance of this season following knee surgery.

French prop Justin Sangaré will be available after suspension.