Another big test of Halifax’s credentials

Halifax put their Yorkshire Four promotion credentials on the line again when they tackle table-topping Leeds Medics and Dentists at Ovenden Park.

Ian Clarke’s side took a big step towards clinching one of the two promotion places when they beat rivals Harrogate Pythons 12-10 last time out.

However, the students will pose a much bigger test. They have opened up an 11-point cushion at the top of the table and lead their hosts by 16 points, although Halifax have a game in hand.

Medics face a tough run-in and Halifax have every reason to be confident, having won the away fixture 18-0 and gone on a 13-match unbeaten run in the league.

Clarke has delayed naming his squad as he waits on the fitness of some players, with Martin Smith the biggest concern.

Giant lock Smith injured his groin against Harrogate while Tom Shaw, Craig Smith, Wayne Beverley and Paul Knapping also picking up knocks and Matt Hurl broke his ankle.

Halifax, though, will welcome Dean Cotton back to the fold while Nick Bell is hoping to be available. Talented No 8 Luke Sturman and academy winger Niall McSharry are pushing for starts after benching against the Pythons.

Experienced scrum-half Mark Walton and livewire flanker Dwaine West are also in the mix for recalls.