Heaton returns from Batley to add to Fax selection options

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Halifax are likely to have estranged centre Ben Heaton in their squad for Sunday’s sudden-death play off game against Dewsbury at the Shay (3.0).

Heaton’s Fax career looked to be on the rocks when the hard-hitting former Oldham back was packed off on a season-long loan to Batley.

But after helping the Bulldogs beat the drop into Championship One, the Rochdale-based player, who had been a regular in former coach Karl Harrison’s side before falling out of favour, returned to training this week under caretaker player-boss Scott Murrell.

“Ben’s loan finished with Batley’s season at Sheffield last weekend, so he’s back with us,” said Murrell, who has already temporarily resurrected the Fax career of another long-term loanee, Ben Davies, who came back from Barrow to figure in last weekend’s 34-16 reverse at Featherstone.

“He’s been playing well for Batley and with the injuries we have, he certainly gives us some extra options.”

Heaton’s presence - and the availability of former England winger Peter Fox - should be a welcome boost for Murrell, who lost full back Ryan Fieldhouse and winger Tommy Saxton to injury last weekend.

“We’ll assess the squad at the end of the week and go from there,” said Murrell, who could still be without regular half back partner Ben Johnston, whose ankle injury has been slow to respond to treatment.

“It’s a big game both clubs because it’s going to be the end of the season for someone.

“Dewsbury are a good side and we need to improve on last week if we want to win.”

While the main focus will be on the field, Fax are also poised to announce another new recruit for 2015 in the East Stand dining room an hour before kick off.

The club have already confirmed the recruitment of Cook Islands prop Adam Tangata.

Courier Sport also understands the process of selecting a permanent successor to Harrison is progressing, with initial meetings with at least one high profile applicant understood to have taken place this week.