Championship Shield: Fax set to welcome back fit again Manning

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Halifax could have key back rower Dane Manning back in their side for Sunday’s Championship Shield clash with Dewsbury at the Shay (3.0).

Manning, arguably Fax’s most consistent performer in recent years, missed the regular season run-in with a broken hand, but returned to training this week to boost coach Richard Marshall’s selection options.

And he could be joined in Marshall’s matchday 17 by fellow injury absentees Jacob Fairbank (knee), Ben Heaton (leg) and hooker Ben Kaye (groin), who are all edging closer to fitness.

“We need some bodies back and hopefully that will happen this week,” said Marshall, whose side will try and arrest a five-game losing streak against the Rams.

“Dane’s probably a week ahead of schedule, but if he’s trained well and done everything we ask of him then we’d be silly not to play him.

“Our attitude is probably more important than anything else at the moment and that’s one thing Dane brings us every time he steps on to the field.

“I would hope that Jacob and Ben Heaton would be okay too; Ben Kaye hasn’t trained yet so is still probably a 50/50 call.”

Marshall has decisions to make at centre, where Heaton’s return could ease out either Chester Butler or Nick Rawsthorne.

“They both did well at Bradford, so we’ll see,” said Marshall.

Two players who won’t be involved are back rowers Simon Grix and Matt Sarsfield, with Marshall confirming the latter - who is expected to join Toronto in 2017 - will not feature again this season, despite extending his loan deal from Salford.

“The Sarsfield situation is frustrating for us,” said Marshall.

“He agreed to stay, his parent club signed off on that, then something has gone on between him and Salford, they’ve paid him off and he’s basically told us he needs a break from rugby.

“Personally, I’m disappointed in the way he’s handled it and it’s left us in a position where we can’t bring another player in because the deadline has passed.

“I was talking to another club about a back rower, but we turned it down because we knew we had Matt.”

Marshall said Grix had not trained for two weeks due to his young daughter’s ongoing health battle, although he didn’t rule out a return for the former Warrington star during the Shield.