HALIFAX forward Josh Barlow is adopting a one-game-at-a-time approach to what he hopes will be a breakthrough season in the Co-operative Championship.
Barlow, the former Ovenden junior and younger brother of Fax front rower Sam, made a total of four appearances in 2011 as he remained on the edge of former boss Matt Calland’s first team squad.
And while the 20 year old prop or back rower, who turned in solid performances in the pre-season meetings with Keighley and Salford, is aiming to push his case under new boss Karl Harrison, he is reluctant to set himself specific goals.
“We’ve got a really strong squad this year, really strong, and there’s no doubt it’s going to be hard to get a place,” said Barlow.
“It was four games overall for me last year; now I just want to be playing as much as I can.
“I got too wrapped up in setting targets last season, wanting to play 10 matches or whatever.
“This year, I am just going to take it as it comes and if it gets to the stage where I need to go out on loan to gain more experience then so be it.
“I’ve tried to work really hard this off season, really trained hard.
“I just think that if I keep working hard on my game, then it will come down to Karl’s decision and as long as I’ve done everything I can, I’ll be happy with that.
“I feel like I’ve gone alright in the friendlies, playing at prop for the first time really.
“I’d probably prefer back row, but I will go wherever he puts me.
“I really want to play for Halifax this season and if I get the chance, then I really want to try and take it.”
But while Barlow has time on his side, he is adamant he needs to progress sooner rather than later.
“I’m still only 20, so I’ve got time, but this is a big year for me,” he said.
“I don’t want to be still in this position when I’m 22, being a fringe player.
“I had offers to go to other clubs this season, but I just wanted to stay here and try and make it.
“To be honest, I’d like to stay here for the rest of my career if I could, but we’ll have to see how things work out.”
HALIFAX are running coach travel to Leigh for next Sunday’s pre-season fixture, leaving the Shay at 12.30pm.
Seats are priced £10 for adults and £5 for children and further details are available from Neil Arber on 077144 88080.