Fired-up Thackray aims to be fighting fit

Reporter:

Tom Norris

Jamie Thackray is hoping his return to full fitness can provide a catalyst in Crusaders’ push for a top eight finish.

Thackray became Brian Noble’s most high-profile signing when he joined the Wrexham-based club in January, although his season has been disrupted by injury.

The 30-year-old spent a number of weeks on the sidelines with a throat problem, but returned to the fray for the back-to-back defeats at the hands of Warrington and Huddersfield.

And now the Great Britain prop is aiming to help Crusaders, who take on Catalans Dragons in France on Saturday, win at least five of their remaining seven matches.

“There are seven games left and we have played all of the big teams and have won some matches,” he explained. “I don’t see why if we can do the basics right that we can’t beat anybody on our day.

“As I say, we need to tidy up a few bits and bobs but you want to win them all. We haven’t really talked about it, obviously we want to win them all but four or five will be good.

“If you look at who we have left they are all winnable games against teams scrapping around that top eight.”

Thackray, who has also spent time with Hull, Castleford and hometown club Leeds during his Super League career, is also hoping his injury nightmare is finally behind him, admitting that a throat problem left him unable to perform to his best.

“I had a little operation on my neck but it is alright now,” he said. “I played my first game against Warrington and played a few minutes against Huddersfield so it is going nicely and hopefully I can get back to full fitness soon.

“I don’t know if it was taking loads of whacks all the time but a lump formed and I left it. It got bigger and bigger and by the end it was full of poison and mucky water apparently and it took three hours to get out.

“I was just feeling tired and drained, I could hardly eat to be honest and I am glad it is out and I can steadily build back into it.

“I missed a few weeks training but we have had a few training sessions and I am getting there. It will be a big task on Saturday, it will be red-hot but I am looking forward to it.

“It is horrible, especially when they are winning! I am glad they are winning but for any player it is frustrating as you just want to be out there.”

Thackray and Crusaders are aiming to return to winning ways on Saturday as they head to Perpignan to tackle Catalans Dragons looking to end a run of three successive defeats.

Despite results going against them, Thackray admits that spirits in the camp are high and a change in fortune is just around the corner.

“It is positive really,” he added when asked about morale. “We were going alright against Huddersfield. If you look at the tries they scored I think they got two interceptions and one where they came at our line, a player dropped the ball and they scored, that’s 18 points.

“Without those it would have made it 12-12 and if we can tidy up those bits and bobs then we will be in the game.

“We have had our ups and downs but so have every other team in Super League. We are not far off, there are little bits and bobs but we are in the game right to the end.”

- Hull KR winger Liam Colbon is set to end a four-month lay-off in tonight’s derby against Hull FC at the KC Stadium.

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