Austin Gleeson and Dessie Hutchinson will miss the early rounds of the National Hurling League next month due to injury.
Gleeson is recovering from a hamstring issue according to manager Davy Fitzgerald. “He missed a few weeks but he's back and he's working hard. I think it will be a few games before he's back but that's ok. I'm happy enough with him coming back the third, fourth or fifth game. Hopefully, we'll have him absolutely firing for the championship, that's what we want.”
Hutchinson will sit out the Dublin and Laois matches. “I don't envisage him playing the next two games. He had a small, little niggle on his back. What I basically want to do is give him a bit more time in the gym. Because he's been going from Ballygunner to Waterford, Ballygunner to Waterford, he hasn't had time to build any muscle as such. There's a few different areas we want him to work a small bit harder on. I'd say it will be the third or fourth game before you see Dessie.”
Conor Prunty and Tadhg De Burca are also doubtful for the opening game against Dublin on February 5. Prunty is nursing a quad injury. “Prunty is spending an awful lot of time in rehab getting right. He is starting to come right. He might be ready for the first round. If we play him, it will take Conor a few games to get right back up. He missed six or seven weeks of our pre-season but he has worked incredibly hard. He’ll be there or thereabouts but lacking game time. The dedication that he has put in to get himself right is absolutely incredible. What a young man. Tadhg has had a few issues going on. He is only back into a match situation this weekend coming. The first round might be early, might not. If I play him, I know he won’t be match ready. Those two guys haven’t had a great run over the last few years with injuries so we’ve worked very hard to get them as good as we can get them. Jamie Barron got a bad knock on Tuesday night, we’ll know after we get an x-ray how he is. The way he played; it was great to see it. He really looked in good form.”