Fax sign Cooper and Baldwinson ahead of must-win final home game

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Halifax boss Richard Marshall swooped late on transfer deadline day to add two more players to his squad, snapping up Wakefield Trinity prop Jordan Baldwinson and St Helens back rower Liam Cooper on loan deals.

The pair, who will be with the club until the end of the season, join Huddersfield’s Sam Wood at the Shay after the rangy centre put pen to paper on a similar agreement on Thursday.

None of the trio are expected to figure in Sunday’s final game of the regular season against Rochdale at the Shay (3.0), which Fax need to win to ensure their place in the Super 8s Qualifiers, despite the absence of strike forwards Adam Tangata and Shane Grady.

Tangata injured his knee against Toulouse, while Grady scored the winning try in the 19-14 success seven minutes from time with a broken foot.

“I don’t think Adam and Shane will feature,” said Marshall.

“They’ll both be assessed by specialists, but we might be without them for a number of weeks, which is unfortunate.

“Potentially, it opens the door for James Woodburn-Hall, Ben Heaton and Sion Jones.

“You’d always want your best team for a game like this, but I’m not really seeing it as a negative.

“Ben and Sion have been itching to play for a few weeks now; they’ll bring some freshness and energy to the team.”

Marshall conceded there will be inevitable ‘anxiety’ ahead of the fixture but has backed his players to deal with the pressure.

Fax go into the game against the Hornets, who sit at the foot of the league ladder, knowing only a win will be enough to finally clinch a top four finish..

And while Marshall’s side will be white hot favourites, their recent track record of patchy home form against the competition’s weaker teams lingers in the memory.

In 2018, Marshall’s side have drawn with Dewsbury, squeaked home against Swinton and crashed out of the Challenge Cup against League 1 Oldham.

“There’s no getting away from what’s at stake,” said Marshall.

“We have one game left to do what we said we were going to do at the start of the season.

“There will be some anxiety, I think that’s inevitable, but we can deal with that.

“Playing with some emotion is important to us, but we’ve talked about making sure we own those emotions rather than letting them get the better of us, which they probably did for 15 minutes or so against Toulouse.

“Let’s be honest though, if you’d offered us this situation in February, we’d have taken it, so it’s about finishing the job now.

“I’ve looked at Rochdale’s last two games, against Leigh and Toronto, and they’ve been good with the ball.

“They’ll be motivated and they might end up with some Warrington players in there as well, so they’re a dangerous side.

“But we dealt with a similar scenario last year, when we beat a Hull KR team that had only lost two games all year, and we can deal with this.”