DEWSBURY RAMS’ injury woes have deepened, with head coach Glenn Morrison admitting the club’s captain could be forced out of action long-term.
Austin Buchanan, who underwent a knee reconstruction at the end of last season, is again struggling for fitness despite only returning to action last month.
The winger has made just a handful of appearances so far in 2013, leaving a gaping hole in the Rams’ three-quarter line.
Boss Morrison says further tests are being done on the 28-year-old’s knee, insisting his presence is desperately required.
“Austin is due to go for a scan, his knee is causing problems again and he could potentially be out for a while,” said Morrison, who took the Dewsbury reins late last year.
“He has been fantastic for the club away from the field, but we are desperate to get him out there playing again.
“Hopefully we will get positive news in the coming days and Austin will be able to play a part this season because we really need his presence in the side.”
In addition, the Australian is likely to be without loose forward Josh Tonks, centre Scott Hale and stand-in skipper Karl Pryce for this Sunday’s visit of West Yorkshire rivals Keighley Cougars (kick-off 3pm).
The tie has been rearranged following its postponement back in March due to adverse weather conditions.
And Morrison is expecting another difficult test, with vital Championship points up for grabs.
“Josh was due to receive his results yesterday, but we are still waiting to see on Karl and Scott,” he said.
“Karl saved a try at Sheffield last weekend and he came away with what we thought at the time was a broken leg, but thankfully it’s nothing like that now.
“Scott also picked up an injury and we were left with virtually no substitutions when Lucas Walshaw got a poke in the eye, which left him suffering from double vision.
“We are extremely thin on the ground, but we have just got to keep on fighting.
“One win could kick-start our season again and I believe we are definitely getting closer.
“But, like us, Keighley do not want to be in and around the relegation zone. If they beat us they could move up four or five spots on the league ladder, so I am expecting them to throw everything at us.”
Meanwhile, the club have confirmed the re-signing of Castleford Tigers forward Stephen Nash.
The 27-year-old has signed a loan deal, which is to be reviewed by both clubs on a month-by-month basis.