Same again for Fax as Marshall sticks with winning formula

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Halifax are expected to field a virtually unchanged team when they take on Oldham in the Championship on Sunday at Stalybridge (3.0).

Coach Richard Marshall, who watched his side bounce back to form after two difficult weeks with a 54-0 caning of Sheffield, could have centre Ben Heaton available again after injury, but seems likely to keep faith with the players who blew the Eagles off the park at Belle Vue.

“We might have Ben available again, but whether we change the team is a different question,” said Marshall, who spent Wednesday on a fact finding trip at Super League outfit Leigh.

“We had a lot of players doing a lot of good things last weekend and I don’t think we’ll alter too much, either in terms of the plan or the selection.

“That obviously doesn’t guarantee you the same kind of result, but the players all bought into what we did so we’ll see how we get on.

“Oldham are a good team; they were terrific against Hull KR last weekend and I honestly thought they were unlucky not to get the win.

“They play the pitch at Stalybridge very well and they’re probably the best team in the competition at getting out of their own half.

“They make a lot of metres on the first three plays, find the sideline and wait for you to make a mistake, which is something we’ve made plenty of over the last few weeks.

“We were a lot better against Sheffield though, which meant we made 222 tackles instead of 400-plus.

“Hopefully, we can carry on where we left off.”

Marshall tipped captain Scott Murrell, full back Will Sharp and in-form centre James Woodburn-Hall to overcome injuries in order to play, with Salford duo Matthew Wilkinson and Daniel Murray both available on dual registration.

One player who won’t be available, and is likely to miss the rest of the Championship league programme is winger James Saltonstall, who has been absent for the last two games with a knee injury.

“We’ve had James’ scan results back and he has a tear in his PCL,” said Marshall.

“It’s probably an eight week injury and we’re two weeks in, so he’s a way off.

“It could have been worse though; if he’d ruptured it then he’d have been looking at major surgery.

“It’s an opportunity for young Conor McGrath now; for his second game at this level, I was very encouraged by his performance last weekend.

“He scored the tries, defended well and did everything that was asked of him.

“We’ve got other options there in Ben Heaton, Chester Butler and young Connor Williams from Salford, but Conor is the man in possession now.”