Fax likely to rest crocked stars for Challenge Cup clash

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall said he is likely rest several key players for Sunday’s Challenge Cup date with Hunslet at the Shay (3.0) to give them the chance to recover from ongoing injury issues.

In-form loose forward Jacob Fairbank, one of the club’s best over recent weeks, back rower Simon Grix and captain Scott Murrell could all watch from the stands as Fax go looking for a place in the fifth round against the League 1 Hawks.

Marshall confirmed that both Fairbank and Grix have been playing with pain-killing injections, while Murrell has ongoing ankle issues.

“We’ll make some changes, which is probably a calculated risk, but we’ve got players who have been playing busted up and we need to manage them,” said Marshall, whose side are now sixth in the Championship after beating London 19-6 last weekend, just two points shy of the fourth-placed Broncos.

“Jacob’s been playing great, despite not being 100 per cent with his shoulder.

“He gives everything and he wants to play big minutes, but he’s done at the end of the game and probably needs a rest.

“Simon’s had injections the last two weeks and Scott’s ankles aren’t great.

“In an ideal world we’d probably keep the same team, but we need to prioritise and I think everyone agree that a top four finish in the Championship is the priority.

“We’re a confident team after last week and we’re confident we’ve got what we need to get the job done.

“It’s also a case of trying to get some players into form for the sake of the team; people like Ben Johnston, for example, who’ll get a chance in the halves.

“Hunslet are going to come and have a go at us, we know that, and we know that not everything in the game will go our way.

“But we dealt with those situations very well against London and I expect us to do the same this week.”

Fax will not have any Salford players available on dual registration this weekend, meaning Marshall must find replacements for the trio - Jake Bibby, Josh Wood and the impressive forward Ryan Lannon - who played against London.

Winger Rob Worrincy is expected to be fit to return, while Luke Ambler should get a recall up front.

But with the daunting trip to Championship favourites Hull KR looming next weekend, Marshall hinted the club’s hitherto limited use of dual reg could, potentially, become more consistent as Fax chase a top four berth.

“Fundamentally, I don’t agree with the system, but we’re in a business where results are everything and we want to get in that top four,” he said.

“The three lads who played at the weekend all helped us get the job done and that’s the bottom line.

“Our players are comfortable playing with them and if they add to our team, and Salford make them available, then we’ll use them.

“Look, this team took a pay cut for this year and I want to get them in the Super 8s Qualifiers so they get that money back.

“We need to use everything available to us to help us reach that goal and if dual reg is part of that, then so be it.”