Sheffield Eagles Duane Straugheir will have an operation today which is set to rule him out for the start of the new season, writes James Collins.
The back rower needs surgery to repair a groin tear and two other forwards Liam Higgins and Michael Knowles look likely to go under the knife with knee problems.
The loss of key players will put pressure on the squad with the Eagles due to start the defence of their Championship title at Owlerton in February.
Prop forward Higgins missed the Grand Final after being injured in the play-offs and Straugheir and Knowles were nursed through the final games of the season.
“We need to get any problems resolved as soon as we can and get them back fully fit,” said Eagles coach Mark Aston.
“Liam looks the worse, he was going okay but his knee has gone again and it’s looking like there’s something that needs doing.”
“Michael has started pre-season training but may need a clean out op on his knee and if he does let’s get it done sooner rather than later.”
Prop Eddie Battye is also likely to miss the start of the season as he recovers from an operation on foot ligaments.
Aston has added two prop forwards in Ben Jones and Jack Blagbrough to the squad but the loss of Knowles and Straugheir, who played 66 games between them last season, would narrow the back row options severely.