Halifax coach Richard Marshall has challenged his players to bridge the financial “gulf” between the sides when they take on Bradford on Friday night (8.0).
The two clubs will meet for the first time in league action since 2003 at Odsal, with Marshall’s side kicking off as rank outsiders against James Lowes’ full-timers.
Marshall estimates Bulls, buoyed by the £700,000 parachute payment that followed their relegation from Super League last season, have spent at least three times as much as Fax as they aim to make an immediate return to the top flight.
“We are maybe running our team on a third of their spend, maybe even less than that,” said Marshall, whose memories of playing for Fax against the Bulls during the early years of his career as a front rower are limited to facing “wingers that were twice as big as I was”.
“That means there is a gulf in finance between the players; that’s the reality.
“That probably makes us underdogs, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t go out there and put in the level of performance that we need.
“That’s the challenge for us, for the players, to bridge that gap.
“As a club, if we are to achieve what we want to achieve over the next few years, these are the teams we are going to be playing and these are the games we need to be competing in.
“We’ve got them three times in the Championship and as a coach, this game will be an interesting indicator of where we stand in relation to them at the moment.”
Marshall takes his side into the Bank Holiday weekend - which will also see Hunslet visit the Shay on Easter Monday (3.0) - on the back of last weekend’s 22-18 loss in London.
Fax dominated that contest only to be punished for failing to take their scoring chances, something Marshall is adamant must change against the Bulls.
“They’ve been scoring a lot of points, so they’ll challenge us defensively, but they’ve not been conceding many either,” said Marshall.
“It’s all fours and sixes, so opportunities are not going to be easy to come by.
“I’d say we’ll get an absolute maximum of three or four in each half; we need to be clinical and composed enough to take them.
“If we don’t, we’re not going to be in contention.”
Marshall was finalising his side as Courier Sport went to Press, although he said both centre Chris Taylor and back rower Adam Robinson, neither of whom figured in the capital, could return.