Fax boss tells players to prove their value ahead of Bulls derby

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Halifax coach Simon Grix has urged his players to ‘show what they are capable of’ as he continues to map out his squad for the 2020 season and beyond.

Fax head to Bradford for Sunday’s Championship derby (3.0) on the back of three straight league losses against Batley, Leigh and Barrow, leaving their top five ambitions hanging by a thread ahead of a pivotal month of fixtures against the Bulls, Featherstone, Toronto and Widnes.

Fax are understood to only have around 10 players currently contracted for next season, with Grix admitting the team’s recent form - and the manner of the losses rather than the losses themselves - had prompted him to reassess his own plans.

“It’s frustrating, and if I’m honest it is making me question again what we need going forward into next season and the seasons after that,” said the former Warrington loose forward.

“I think every player who was on the field in the first half at Barrow made an error; a knock on, a penalty, a forward pass, conceding a seven tackle set, whatever.

“Whether that is down to concentration or confidence, we’re currently not good enough to deliver the plan that’s in place to help us win games.

“Barrow didn’t come with any surprises; they came ready to go through us with a physical approach that we weren’t up to dealing with.

“We’re at the point in the season now where contracts are on the line and people really need to stand up and show us what they’re capable of in that respect.”

Fax’s dip in form represents an early test for their rookie head coach, who is only two months into his career.

“I was always going to come across this at some stage, so it may as well be now,” he said.

“I’ve been in some teams that have been in holes bigger than this one and the mantra has always been the same: if in doubt, work harder.

“That’s all you can do, and at the moment everyone on the staff is pitching in to make sure we’re ready for game day.

“Looking at the table, in terms of the top five we’re in a position now where we’re going to have to win pretty much all our games and rely on someone above us making a mistake.”

Grix said there would be changes for the trip to Odsal, with half back Ben Johnston an outside chance to play after a long term absence with a broken hand.

Back rower Ed Barber remains an absentee because of ongoing concussion symptoms, while Huddersfield-bound Chester Butler, who missed the trip to Craven Park with a groin injury, is also in contention.

Fax also have Will Sharp, Reece Chapman-Smith, Liam Cooper and Castleford’s Wigan-bound prop Mitch Clark available.

Fax’s reserves are also in action at Odsal, playing a curtain raiser with a 12.30 kick off.