Don’t stay away: Matt

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HALIFAX coach Matt Calland has urged the club’s supporters not to boycott tonight’s Northern Rail Cup semi final at Featherstone (7.30).

Last September’s Grand Final meeting between the sides was marred by crowd trouble, culminating in an assault on Fax supporter David Singer, who suffered severe head injuries after being attacked in the coach park at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium.

That prompted many Fax fans to stay away from Post Office Road for last month’s Championship game, resulting in an attendance of just 1,377 - a massive drop from the 2,553 that watched last season’s play off semi final at the same venue and the 2,353 who saw the 2010 league fixture - despite Rovers offering segregated car parking and ground admission, measures that will be repeated tonight.

“I can understand how people feel, especially supporters with young families,” admitted Calland, who visited Singer in hospital several times during the winter.

“It was a horrific thing that happened to Dave Singer and it is not something you ever associate with rugby league.

“But staying away tonight is not going to change anything and I think we need to move forward now.

“From the players’ perspective, they want people to get there in numbers tonight because it makes a massive difference to them when they see that wall of blue and white at one end of the ground.

“It’s a massive game for us, as it is for Featherstone, and having a good support there does give us an edge.”

On the field, Calland is looking for what he would consider his side’s first 80 minute performance of the year.

“We’ve not really put two good halves together, even at Leigh a couple of weeks ago we tailed off after the break,” he said.

“We need to put that right tonight.”