WALES tighthead Leon Brown is targeting the Dragons' festive derbies after ‘drawing a line in the sand’ following more injury frustration.

The powerful prop has made just one appearance this season, as a replacement in the loss to Cardiff, after being troubled by a calf issue.

Brown is back in training and is eyeing the Boxing Day trip to the capital and New Year's Day encounter with the Scarlets in Newport.

The Dragons have a pair of Challenge Cup fixtures against French opposition before the derbies but the tighthead won’t face Oyonnax at Rodney Parade on Saturday (kick-off 8pm) and is unlikely to travel to Pau.

The 27-year-old, who is out of contract this summer, has endured a year and a half of injury frustration after being limited to just four club outings last season due to neck surgery.

However, the Dragons are hopeful that a cautious approach will enable their tighthead to finish 2023 strongly and take that form into the new year.

South Wales Argus: Dragons prop Leon Brown has made just one appearance this seasonDragons prop Leon Brown has made just one appearance this season (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“When players come back from long-term injuries you often see that there are a couple of niggly injuries that come shortly afterwards,” said forwards coach Luke Narraway.

“Leon is moving well and hopefully he can draw a line in the sand now because you want to see a Wales international with the potential and ability of Leon out on the pitch.

“We need our best players out there but hopefully he has turned a corner now and we can start talking about selection.

“Being a prop, there is a lot that he needs to cover off [before being given the all-clear] with progression through scrum load. We need to do that as safely as possible and we don't want to rush.

“If he passes through training then he will be talked about in selection meetings sooner rather than later.”

Lloyd Fairbrother, who played for Wales in the uncapped fixture against the Barbarians due to Brown’s injury woes, is the frontline tighthead option with Chris Coleman and Luke Yendle his back-up.

The Dragons name their team to face Oyonnax at midday on Friday with Wales hooker Elliot Dee set to feature after missing the two-game tour to South Africa with a rib injury.

Gonzalo Bertranou is back in training after a knock suffered on his return from World Cup duty but the Argentina scrum-half won’t feature this weekend.