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Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Thursday, 13 January 2011

Scott Freer close to Leeds Carnegie return after injury

Scott Freer
Freer has not played for Leeds since February 2009

Leeds Carnegie are confident Scott Freer will be ready for first-team selection within the next month.

The hooker, 21, has only just returned from a year out due to knee reconstruction surgery.

With Andy Titterrell out for the season, Freer will be needed when Steve Thompson goes on Six Nations duty.

Director of rugby Andy Key told BBC Radio Leeds: "He has played a few games and has got himself close to what he was before the injury."

Academy product Freer has represented England at U18 and U19 level and was expected to feature in the first team last season before his serious injury.

With British & Irish Lion Titterrell out for the season after also undergoing a knee reconstruction operation, Leeds were left with Phil Nilsen as their one senior hooker during the November autumn internationals, with Thompson on England duty.

Key added: "Scott has played in our A team and also with Otley and he is just about ready.

"He is not 100% back to where he was before the injury but he is almost there.

"So we'll get through these next couple of weeks [with Thompson and Nilsen] to give him that little bit more time.

"Then we'll go into those LV Cup games knowing Scott is fit and well."

Key is also concerned about the potential threat of Leeds sustaining more injuries during their upcoming Challenge Cup and LV Cup games.

Leeds go to Paris to face Stade Francais on Sunday, before hosting Bucharest, followed by matches with Gloucester and Northampton.

With the four-week cup break followed by Premiership matches against Leicester, Saracens and relegation rivals Newcastle, Key is only too aware of the heavy price injury could inflict on Leeds.

With Thompson and Hendre Fourie away with England during that time, the need to keep his players fit has become even greater for the former Tigers coach.

"We will make changes for these games for these games. We need to make decisions on who and when to rest certain players.

"We need to be carefully in this four-week programme and make sure everyone is fit and rested and the team is ready for when we return to the Premiership.

"This weekend we will make changes, with a few players suffering from knocks. Michael Stephenson [wing] will not play as he took a dead leg against Bath.

"He's the only major concern at the moment, the rest is about us as management looking after our players ahead of the Premiership matches."

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