Marshall warns Fax there is little margin for error
Halifax coach Richard Marshall believes his side could still be faced with a scenario where they need to win all eight of their remaining Championship fixtures to secure a top four finish.
Marshall’s side go into Sunday’s Shay date with Sheffield Eagles (3.0) on the back of a crushing 37-0 win over Featherstone.
That win that kept them in sixth on the league ladder, although crucially they are now only a point shy of third-placed Batley.
“There is a scenario where we’d need to win every game to finish in the four because of the points we’ve already dropped,” said Marshall, whose side won 10 straight after last season’s Summer Bash to cement a place in the Super 8s Qualifiers.
“I don’t want to put pressure on the players, but that’s the reality of the situation of where we are at and that might be what we need to do.
“I’m not too sure whether that will end up being the case, but every game is massively important now.
“This is our last home game for a while so we need to make sure we put a performance on and then we can pack our bags and go on the road round the north for five weeks and see what we can do.
“Last Sunday was a big, emotional day for everyone and the players were a little bit flat at training on Tuesday, compared to what was a really good week last week.
“But we’ll build it up through the week and it’s not a bad sign for us; you only tend to notice that they’re missing that one per cent when you’ve got bar set pretty high.
“We’ll be ready for Sunday.”
Marshall said there were likely to be “minimal” changes to the team that performed so well against Rovers, although recalled half back Ben Johnston - whose presence freed up captain Scott Murrell to dominate from hooker, the position he last played in Super League for Hull KR - is a doubt.
“Ben got a heavy knock after he set up the try for Matt Sarsfield before half time,” said Marshall, who has rookie number nine Brandon Moore, injured last weekend, waiting in the wings.
“He’s not quite right and he didn’t train Tuesday, so we’ll see how he recovers.
“He was very good though and we’d like him in the team if possible.”
Sheffield go into the game trailing Fax by eight points, with their switch to a full-time squad so far failing to pay dividends for coach Mark Aston.
“They’ll be disappointed with how they’ve gone, but they’re still a side with a lot of threats in Yere, Worrincy and QLT,” said Marshall, who watched his side butcher chance after chance on their way to a league defeat in the Steel City in February.
“We made 12 line breaks against them last time we played and they counted for nothing; it was a bad day at the office for us.
“I’m not sure whether or not they can still make the top four, but I’d imagine they’ll be targeting this game.
“They’re still a dangerous side and they’ve had a bit of an edge on us at times over the last year or so.”
Sunday’s game will see Fax stage a double header for the first time in a several years, with the club’s reserves taking on Warrington’s second string at 12.15 before the Championship fixture at 3pm.
“We’ve pushed quite hard to make this happen and it would be good to see the supporters come down a little bit earlier and have a look at our younger players in action,” said Marshall.