HALIFAX coach Karl Harrison has pledged to give Ryan Fieldhouse the chance to stake his claim for the club’s number one shirt in 2012.
Fieldhouse, the former BARLA captain who turned professional with Fax on a short-term deal this summer, penned a new one year contract yesterday, alongside Rochdale’s utility forward Craig Ashall.
And Harrison, who now has 22 players under contract for his first season in charge, has said the 22 year old - who mainly figured as a stand-in centre this year - is in contention to replace the axed Miles Greenwood as Fax’s last line of defence.
“Ryan can play centre and wing, but he is desperate to play full back,” said Harrison, who has also snapped up another contender in Oldham’s highly-rated youngster Ben Heaton.
“He wants to be the starting full back, but then so does Heaton, and we have other players who can play there too.
“They will all get a chance, then it’s up to them; we can only have one full back.
“I have told them they will pick the team - through their performances on the field and in practice - not me.
“Ryan’s not the finished article by a long way, but there’s definite potential there.
“He’s a big unit, he’s quick, he’s got good footwork and he wants to learn.
“He’ll really add to our backline.”
Ashall’s job is primarily to act as an understudy to star hooker Sean Penkywicz, although the Wigan-based player earned his spot in the Championship One ‘dream team’ on the strength of his performances in Hornets’ back row.
“Craig’s been earning some great reviews this year,” said Harrison, who compared the player to the man he will effectively replace, the Ireland international Bob Beswick.
“He’s a back rower with half back skills, but he’s also a tough, determined defender in that middle channel.
“In that respect, he’s not unlike Beswick in the way he plays the game.
“He will certainly give us options in the pack.”