HALIFAX football consultant Brian Noble has insisted it is possible for the club to win the Co-operative Championship title from sixth place on the league ladder.
But the former Great Britain coach - who is still the only man to steer a team to the Super League title from outside the top two after taking third-placed Bradford to the 2005 crown - admitted it will take a combination of careful management and luck if the Shay outfit are to win back-to-back Grand Finals.
Noble was a notable presence at Batley on Thursday night as Fax, under the control of caretaker boss Damian Ball, cleared the first of three away-day hurdles with a 32-22 win over a Bulldogs bossed by their 2012 coach, Karl Harrison.
“Is it possible to win it? Of course it is,” said Noble.
“It’s certainly tough, you need to absolutely believe in your ability as a team, which the Halifax players certainly do, and have a massive amount of determination.
“That Bradford side in 2005 was a very seasoned and mentally strong group of players.
“They won 13 games straight at the end of that season and there was only a couple of those when they even looked like they might lose.
“There are certainly similarities between them and this Halifax side.
“The way you practice at this time of year is a balancing act: You can’t just flog the players, but you don’t want to be underdone either.
“Your eyes are a wonderful tool, you need to look at who needs more work, who needs less.
“It’s not about fitness at this time of year, it’s about intensity - because that’s the kind of game you are preparing for - and you can be as intense in a 20 minute session as you can in an hour.
“You also need to be fortunate with injuries, to keep your key players healthy.
“There are a whole lot of factors that will come into play, but the reality is that they only need to win three matches now.”
One thing Noble has no doubts about is the appointment of Harrison, Fax’s former captain and Hall of Fame member, on a three-year coaching deal.
“Karl is absolutely the right choice,” said Noble, who worked alongside the former GB prop at Odsal.
“He is a Halifax icon and a very smart coach with some great ideas.
“He has a tremendous rapport with players, staff and sponsors and I’m sure he’ll prove to be a quality appointment.”