Fax welcome back skipper Murrell for Easter programme

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Halifax will have captain Scott Murrell in his usual slot at half back for the Good Friday Championship clash with Oldham at Stalybridge Celtic (3.0).

Murrell has missed his side’s last two fixtures after undergoing plastic surgery on his thumb following the loss in London three weeks ago.

But the former Hull KR player was back barking out the orders in the warm up for last weekend’s Challenge Cup game at Langtree Park, with boss Richard Marshall confirming Murrell will start against the Roughyeds.

“Scott’s finger is still a bit sore and swollen, but he can catch and pass and he’ll play,” said Marshall, whose side are languishing - in relative terms - in eighth place on the league ladder after three straight defeats, all by less than eight points.

“I don’t like talking about the idea of ‘must win’ games, but there are some games that are important and you want players like Scott available for those.

“He knows exactly what I want as a coach; it’s like having another me on the field.

“He’s positive and encouraging, but he’ll make sure everyone is pulling their weight.

“I think our energy and enthusiasm levels go up a notch when him and Ben Kaye are on the field.”

But while Murrell will return, Kaye, the former Featherstone hooker who was concussed in the capital, has been ruled out and is far from certain to return for the Easter Monday blockbuster against Bradford Bulls at the Shay (3.0).

Fax’s other regular number nine Ryan Maneely will also miss out with a hip injury, with Marshall placing his faith in explosive rookie Brandon Moore and former Hull KR utility player Connor Robinson.

“Connor will start, with Brandon coming off the bench,” confirmed Marshall.

“It might be that we get Ben Kaye back for the Bradford game, but we’ll have to see.

“He’s had some recurrent symptoms since London and we’re not taking any chances with him.”

Marshall had better news on centre Steve Tyrer, whose calf injury - which saw him hobble off at Langtree Park - is not as bad as feared.

“It’s a strain rather than a tear and Steve’s a chance to play Monday,” said Marshall, who will pair Ben Heaton, who signed for Fax from Oldham four years ago, with Sam Smeaton in a backline which is also likely to feature a fit-again James Saltonstall.

Marshall spent last Sunday running the rule over Friday’s opponents and reports a fast, mobile side “up to speed” following their promotion from League 1.

“They’re not the biggest set, but they’re a very quick side; they’ve got quick individuals and they play the game quickly,” said Marshall.

Halifax will also have four players in action for South Wales Scorpions this weekend, with the clubs’ growing relationship - the result of Siddal chairman Marc Lovering’s involvement with the outpost outfit - seeing youngsters Aiden Hema, Billy Gaylor, Bob Holroyd, Luke Nelmes and Nick Rawsthorne heading to the Principality to gain experience.