Heaton: I’m closing in on a first team return

Halifax centre Ben Heaton has declared himself fit for Sunday’s Co-operative Championship clash with Sheffield Eagles.

But the former Oldham threequarter, who has not been sighted at first team level since injuring his ankle at Leigh at the end of April, knows that he may have to wait to regain his place in Karl Harrison’s Northern Rail Cup winning side.

“I played in the 23s last week and did the full 80 minutes,” said Heaton, who was one of the success stories of Fax’s early season after an unheralded arrival from the Roughyeds.

“I got through it, no problems at all, so it’s close to being 100 per cent again, hopefully.

“It’s been a long job because it’s kept breaking down on me; I probably rushed it back and the first game I played for the reserves a few weeks ago I took a knock on it and that set me back again.

“This time, we’ve taken it nice and slowly, spent a lot of time strengthening it and working with the specialist.

“My fitness is 100 per cent, my ankle is almost there and I just want to play now.

“I would say I am in contention for Sheffield now, but Pato and Tyrer are playing really well, we’ve got James Haley as well, and I need to prove myself again.

“If I get the call, I will play, but if Karl wants me to wait then I am happy with that too.

“Like I said, I’m not going to rush it.”

Heaton was at Bloomfield Road on Sunday to see his teammates lift the NRC and joined the club’s other non-playing stars - Tony Tonks, Ross Divorty and Iain Morrison - in the dressing room celebrations.

“It was brilliant,” he said.

“I was so pleased for the lads; it’s what they’ve been working hard all season and all pre season for.

“I think they showed on the field how deep they were prepared to dig and they got their rewards.

“It was just great to be there and be a part of it.”