Holden looking to the long-term with Fax

Keith Holden celebrates after setting up Andy Bracek's try

Keith Holden celebrates after setting up Andy Bracek's try

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Halifax’s rookie hooker Keith Holden believes his inclusion in the side that beat Workington 40-18 at the weekend had more to do with planning for 2014 than making a late run into Karl Harrison’s plans for Friday’s play off opener at Sheffield (7.30).

Holden, the former Widnes and Warrington junior and the nephew of the late former Test number nine Terry Newton, made his league debut against the Cumbrians after a stand-out season at under 20s, scoring one try and setting up another for prop Andy Bracek.

“I’m not so sure it was done with an eye on the short term and the play offs; I think it was looking longer term to see whether I am up to that level,” said Holden, whose previous first team experience was limited to the Challenge Cup romp against Oxford in the spring.

“I didn’t really think it was going to happen for me this season; we played the last under 20s game a couple of weeks ago and I thought that was me done.

“But Karl had a word and it was good to get out there at last.

“I want to stay for here another year and it’s something we have spoken about.”

If Holden does remain with the club, he is likely to face white-hot competition for a first team place, with Fax expected to completely overhaul their playmaking options.

Batley’s hooker or half back Paul Mennell, Featherstone number nine Ben Kaye and York’s former Grand Final-winning Sheffield stand off Simon Brown - who had been expected to join Featherstone - have all been tipped as potential recruits in recent weeks.

“I knew this year was about coming in and trying to be consistent in the 20s and show what I can do,” said Holden.

“Next year, it will be about kicking on, taking on the challenge and pushing for a first team place.

“I felt I did okay against Workington, but it’s a step up; it’s a lot quicker, a lot harder, better players.

“I just wanted to put myself in the picture really and hopefully I did that.”