Fieldhouse: I need to be sharp for Danny battle

Fax v Keighley Cougars at The Shay Stadium. ryan fieldhouse
Fax v Keighley Cougars at The Shay Stadium. ryan fieldhouse
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HALIFAX full back Ryan Fieldhouse says he will leave no stone unturned in a bid to be ready for the duel with his former teammate Danny Jones in Friday night’s Co-operative Championship derby showdown with neighbours Keighley (7.30).

Wales international Jones, the former Ovenden and Fax playmaker, returned to Cougar Park last autumn after just a single season back in the ranks of his hometown club, with incoming coach Karl Harrison opting for an all-new half back pairing in Paul Handforth and Anthony Thackeray.

Jones, who started Sunday’s eight-try thrashing of Hunslet at stand off alongside the former Super League half back Sam Obst, boasts a strong kicking game and Fieldhouse is in no doubt he will be in the firing line on Good Friday.

“Danny is going to be massively up for this one, there’s no doubt about that,” said the former BARLA captain, who only turned professional last summer.

“He’s a good player and I am sure he will be testing me out at the back if I am selected again.

“His kicking game is high quality and we will be doing some video work on that this week.

“I’ll study that a bit and do a few extras in training, just to make sure I’m as ready as I can be for that.

“It’s going to be another tough game; I think it’s going to be a really competitive league this year and it’s going to be a case of taking it week to week.

“They are another team that have signed really well - players like Danny, Obst, Semi Tadulala, Paul March - and they are going well.

“It’s another test.”

Fieldhouse’s own form is on an upward curve, with the son of Harrison’s former Thrum Hall teammate John Fieldhouse now apparently established as the club’s number one number one.

The Lancashire-based player looked sharp as Fax made it three league wins out of three with a 50-18 caning of Sheffield at Bramall Lane last Thursday, a far cry from the club’s play off exit at the same venue last autumn when a battle-weary line up slipped meekly out of the title race.

“It was a massive difference to the last time we were there,” said Fieldhouse.

“The structure that Karl put in place was absolutely first class, we stuck to it pretty well and it showed in the performance.

“Going there last year, Miles (Greenwood) was injured and I had been playing centre and I struggled dropping straight back in at full back.

“I’ve had a really good off season though and I feel like I am finding my feet at this level now.

“Coming in off the back of good preparation, with the players I have around me like Thackeray, Penkywicz, Handforth, it’s going well.

“I will just keep working on it, in training and in the matches, and hopefully it will continue.

“Everyone knows you cannot afford to lower your standards; there were five or six lads who didn’t play on Thursday who could drop straight in.

“One below-par performance and you’re out.”