TYLER Morgan is targeting the Dragons’ festive derbies after undergoing an operation on the ankle injury that ended his hopes of playing for Wales this autumn.

The 22-year-old from Caerleon was named in Warren Gatland’s initial 36-strong squad for the Tests against Australia, Georgia, New Zealand and South Africa.

However, the four-times capped centre suffered an badly sprained right ankle in derby against the Ospreys in Swansea, the final game before he was meant to link up with the Wales squad.

He was released from camp last week – with experienced Scarlets centre Scott Williams recalled – and was sent for a specialist opinion.

It was decided that going under the knife was the best option but Morgan won’t be out of action for long.

“Unfortunately Tyler got released from Wales camp because they didn’t see him being able to play over the course of the autumn internationals,” said Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman.

“He has had an op but it’s not a long, long-term injury. It’s six or seven weeks even with the op, so that’s a positive.

“We’d like to think that he will be back for the derby games over Christmas. His ankle just needed a little clean up.”

The Dragons entertain Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day in the Guinness PRO14 before welcoming the Ospreys to Newport on New Year’s Eve.

The early part of Morgan’s career were beset by injuries, the most serious of which was a shoulder injury suffered against South Africa in the World Cup quarter-final loss at Twickenham in 2015.

Last season the centre managed to string together 24 games and looked to be getting back to his best with ball in hand this term.

However, he will now miss the European Challenge Cup fixtures with Enisei-STM and Newcastle in December.

The Dragons management are having to contend with a massive injury list for Saturday’s Anglo-Welsh Cup opener at Northampton, as well as the absence of the Wales quartet of hooker Elliot Dee, tighthead Leon Brown, lock Cory Hill and full-back/wing Hallam Amos.

The Rodney Parade region are also without centres Sam Beard, who ruptured a pectoral muscle on his only outing of the season at Edinburgh in round two, and USA international Thretton Palamo, the on-loan Bristol back who limped off in his second game for the region against Southern Kings in September.

Full-back Zane Kirchner and wing Adam Hughes would have been other options in midfield but are out with shoulder and foot injuries respectively.

South African Pat Howard has featured as a centre rather than on the flank this season while 20-year-old speedster Jared Rosser was also tried out at 13 in the European Challenge Cup clash against Newcastle at Kingston Park.

Jack Dixon and Adam Warren started in midfield in the 49-6 thrashing at Munster last Friday.

Former Wales Under-20s centre Connor Edwards made his comeback from injury for Bedwas against Newport but Barney Nightingale is with Wales 7s.

Other areas of major injury concern for Franklin’s Gardens are tighthead and the back row.

Props Lloyd Fairbrother and Brok Harris are the only options on the right-hand side of the front row with Brown on Wales duty and Dan Suter and Chris Coleman sidelined by foot and shoulder injuries respectively.

The back row has been decimated by injury with James Thomas (knee) and Lewis Evans (pectoral muscle) facing surgery after being forced off in the loss to the Ospreys a fortnight ago.

They join Nic Cudd (knee), Harri Keddie (shoulder), Ollie Griffiths (jaw), Robson Blake (shoulder) and Max Williams (shoulder) in the treatment room.

James Benjamin and 20-year-old Aaron Wainwright were joined in the back row by debutants James Sheekey, a recent recruit from Cardiff RFC, and Ben Roach, a Wales 7s international, in the Cork defeat.