Fax call up young guns for Barrow showdown

editorial image

Halifax have are likely to add young youngsters Conor McGrath, Elliot Morris and Chester Butler to their 17 for Friday night’s Championship showdown with Barrow at the Shay (7.30).

All of the trio featured in last Tuesday night’s Challenge Cup loss to Oldham, but didn’t play in the 38-6 defeat in Toulouse on Saturday.

But with Simon Grix ruled out with concussion, winger Ben Heaton nursing a rib injury and full back James Woodburn-Hall facing up to a month on the sidelines with ankle ligament damage, coach Richard Marshall has no choice but to turn to the club’s young guns.

Marshall’s options have been cut further by loan prop Daniel Murray’s recall to Super League side Salford and a lack of dual-registration options from Castleford ahead of the Easter double-header.

“Dan’s gone back to Salford, which is disappointing because he was very good in Toulouse, but we’re at the mercy of the parent club in that regard,” said Marshall, who will take his side to Dewsbury on Easter Monday (3.0).

“Simon can’t play on Friday under the concussion protocols, but he could be available on Monday if he passes the tests on Sunday.

“We’ll bring Chester and Elliot back in and Conor will probably be a straight swap for Ben on the wing.”

Marshall said Jacob Fairbank was expected to be available after being cleared of concussion, while back rower Shane Grady, who has a knee injury, should also feature.

The Raiders have been in impressive form on their return to the Championship, taking a point off Toronto and beating Leigh.

Fax’s morale could be questioned after two losses in five days, but Marshall believes that, despite the final scoreline, aspects of their performance in France had helped lift the hangover from the Oldham game.

“We were bad against Oldham, but we weren’t bad against Toulouse,” he said.

“Saturday hasn’t knocked our confidence, probably the opposite, because we know we were in the game for long spells against one of the form sides of the competition.

“It’s an important weekend for us and if we don’t pick up a couple of wins it makes things very difficult for us, but nothing is insurmountable as we learned last season.

“I’ve watched a lot of Barrow this week and they are a very good side.

“They’re big and physical in the middle and they’ve just been rolling over teams.

“It’s going to be a tough, tough game.”