Harrison will run the rule over young full back duo

Ryan Fieldhouse
Ryan Fieldhouse

Halifax coach Karl Harrison is likely to use Sunday’s pre-season clash at Batley (2.0) to further assess his full back options for 2014.

Incumbent number one Ryan Fieldhouse started the Boxing Day game at Castleford and is likely to get the nod again against the Bulldogs, with Harrison poised to opt for a strong 20-man line up when he finalises his selection.

But after finishing the game at Wheldon Road with the impressive Gareth Potts - a close season recruit from Batley - as the last line of defence, Harrison will now turn his attention to young guns Joe Martin and Jack Holmes.

Martin, a former Siddal junior, and Holmes, signed from Salford this winter, were both due to feature in last weekend’s fixture against Keighley.

That game was postponed due to the Shay pitch being waterlogged, prompting the midweek decision to switch Sunday’s game away from Fax’s home ground to Mount Pleasant.

“I think Fieldhouse and Potts are the front runners for the full back position at the moment, but we need to look at our options there,” said Harrison.

“We haven’t finalised the side yet, but Fieldhouse will probably start and then either Martin or Holmes will get a chance later in the game.

“We need to see them both play, so whoever doesn’t get a run this weekend will play at Featherstone next Sunday.

“They’ve not looked out of place in training, so we’ll see how they go against a good Championship side.”

Harrison confirmed he would stick with newly-signed half backs Simon Brown and Ben Johnston at the scrum base, with Scott Murrell continuing at loose forward.

“Those playmaking positions are the spine of the team and the more time they get on the field together the more confident they will become,” he said.

“We’ve got things we need to look at, but that’s an area where we will try and get as much consistency as we can.”

Prop Ben Davies has been passed fit to make his first appearance of pre-season after a knee injury, although there will be no place for the forward Adam Robinson, who has been nursing a pelvic injury.

“Davies is ready, but we may hold him back a week for Featherstone,” said Harrison.

“Robinson should be back for that game as well.”