Marshall tips Grix to recover to face Lions

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Coach Richard Marshall expects key forward Simon Grix to be fit to play in Sunday’s Championship clash with Swinton at Heywood Road (3.0).

Grix has been an influential figure over the last fortnight, adding some much needed spark to Fax’s attacking game after switching from back row to loose forward.

But the former Warrington player, whose all-action style has seen his career dogged by injury issues, suffered jaw and ankle issues in the 30-12 win over Oldham at Stalybridge and did not train when his teammates reconvened on Tuesday night.

“Simon didn’t run on Tuesday, but I would think he will probably play,” said Marshall, who said his other loose forward option - Jacob Fairbank - is still nursing the hand injury that stopped him from playing against the Roughyeds.

“His jaw was probably the biggest worry, he was pretty sore afterwards, but that’s okay.

“He rolled his ankle in a tackle near the end of the game and as long as that settles down he’ll be okay.

“Jacob’s got a chance; he’s not broken anything but his hand is still pretty painful.

“He’s having a scan this week, so we’ll look at the results of that before deciding what we do with him.”

Versatile back Ben Heaton could also play after returning to full fitness, a timely piece of good news for Marshall, who will lose in-form England Students centre James Woodburn-Hall after Sunday’s game as he flies to Australia on World Cup duty.

The Salford pairing of Matthew Wilkinson and Dan Murray are both likely to figure again, with two more Red Devils players, the forward Jordan Walne and the teenage back Connor Williams also in the frame.

Neither hooker Ben Kaye or strike forward Adam Tangata are fit to play, with Marshall estimating both players are “a couple of weeks away”.

“Ben Heaton could have played last weekend, so he’ll be in contention again,” said Marshall, who rubbished suggestions Heaton had been left out because of a rumoured switch to Featherstone next season.

“As far as I know, Ben’s not signed for anyone yet, us included.

“I’m speaking to his agent on a weekly basis and as soon as our budgets for next season become clearer, he’ll be getting an offer.

“We lose Woody after this week, and we’ve got some very difficult games coming up, so I’d like to get Ben back in the side if we can so he’s up to speed.

“We’ll have the two Salford lads again and Jordan Walne’s been training with us for a couple of weeks so he’s desperate to get involved.

“I like the look of young Connor Williams as well, so we’ve got a few options.”

Whatever the make up of his team, Marshall expects a predictably lively challenge from the Lions.

“I think the Oldham game was probably a good preparation, because they play quite similar games,” said Marshall.

“Swinton are probably better with the ball; they can attack you from anywhere on the field on any tackle, so we need to be ready to contain that threat.

“If we do that, we can come out on top.

“What we can’t afford is to turn the ball over like we did against Oldham and then try and get away with it.

“We made 340 tackles against Oldham, which was about 100 more than the week before at Sheffield.

“It was nice to come out on the right side of a game like that, but we have to be better than that.”