Fax’s Marshall: Prepare as if we have to win

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Richard Marshall will tell his Halifax players to prepare for Sunday’s final Championship fixture against Hull KR at the Shay (3.0) as it is a season-defining fixture.

Fax could face Rovers, who have only lost twice all season in league action, with their place in the top four - and the Super 8s Qualifiers - already secure, if Featherstone can beat Toulouse in France on Saturday night.

But if the French side emerge as winners, Fax must take at least a point off Tim Sheens’ side if they want to avoid slipping to fifth and into the Championship Shield.

That makes Sunday’s game either an academic irrelevance or a pivotal showdown with a minimum of £200,000 in extra central funding on the line.

“It’s strange situation,” admitted Marshall, who declined to be drawn on how Featherstone’s decision to axe coach John Sharp, followed by the immediate appointment of John Duffy as his replacement, might impact on the situation.

“There’s obviously things happening at Featherstone, but all I know is that it’s good that we beat them convincingly, in pretty much every department, last weekend.

“We can’t afford to be distracted by other results, we need to focus on preparing for Hull KR as if it’s a game we have to win.

“Toulouse played with real desperation to win in Hull last week and they’ll do exactly the same against Featherstone on Saturday night.

“I’ve said this before, but we can’t expect any favours from anyone else, we need to make sure we look after ourselves.

“We’re expecting to need to win against a full strength Hull KR side looking to build some momentum going into the Super 8s.

“But we performed well when we played them at Craven Park and we’re not scared of the situation.

“They’ve got some very good players; Shaun Lunt’s important for them and I’m looking forward to that battle between him and Brandon Moore, because I know he’s a player Brandon looks up to.

“I’m also expecting Chris Atkin to play and he’s undone us a few times playing for Swinton.

“It’s going to be a big game and a big challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”

Marshall, whose side now officially have the best defence in the competition, ahead of Hull KR, is still contending with a long list of injuries, with star turn Simon Grix the latest addition.

Grix, hugely influential at Post Office Road, has an ankle problem that makes him a ‘“genuine doubt”.

“Simon’s foot is very swollen, he couldn’t even get a boot on on Tuesday,” said Marshall.

“We want him out there if at all possible, but if he can’t play, he can’t play.

“James Woodburn-Hall comes back from Australia on Thursday, so we’ll see whether he’s ready to play when he gets here.

“Brandon Douglas has a shoulder problem that might rule him out and we’ve a few more carrying issues they’ve had for a few weeks.

“We might get offered a couple of players from Salford and we might have to use them.”