Fax confirm three more as 2017 squad begins to take shape

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Halifax have confirmed the re-signing of three more players for next season, with forward Jacob Fairbank, hooker Ben Kaye and versatile back James Saltonstall all staying at the Shay.

Fairbank, arguably one of the few players who can claim some personal improvement after a rollercoaster 2016 season, and Kaye have signed one year deals, with Saltonstall, who missed the closing weeks of the season with a broken toe, putting pen to paper until the end of 2018.

Their names are added to a six-strong list of out of contract players who have agreed new deals, along with new signing Rob Worrincy.

But given that nine players were officially cut from Fax’s roster last week, it is logical to assume that the rest of coach Richard Marshall’s squad have also agreed to stay, with further announcements pending.

Fax have been linked with several players from outside the club, with Dewsbury’s impressive centre-turned-back-row Shane Grady - who has confirmed his destination on social media - Salford forward Matt Haggerty and Leeds’ young full back Tommy Brierley all apparently on the radar.

While Marshall spoke candidly of the need to make cost savings following the club’s indifferent Championship Shield campaign, it remains to be seen what - if any - impact those will have on first team recruitment or the future of Fax’s reserve side, which more than justified its resurrection this year.

One possibility is a dual-registration agreement with a Super League club, although with previous allies Hull KR dropping into the Championship next season, Fax would need to court a new partner.

“We’re getting there now with the squad although there are still a couple of pieces of the jigsaw to fall into place,” said Marshall.

“James and Ben missed a couple of our later games through injury towards the end of the season and we certainly knew they weren’t there.

“If I picked a team on enthusiasm alone Ben’s name would be first on the teamsheet and Salty gives us options at the back that are invaluable to small squads like ours.

“Jacob gets through a lot of the work that goes unnoticed by everyone except his teammates.”

With Worrincy and Will Sharp, once his six-game suspension has cleared, both pressing for wing spots, Marshall also said Saltonstall had asked to be considered for the full back role, alongside Ben Johnston.

“James has indicated he’d like to have a crack at full back, Ben’s more than happy to play there, so we have some options,” said Marshall.