Halifax boss Grix in no rush to make decision on on-trial Barlow

Jodie Broughton models Fax's 2020 home kit
Jodie Broughton models Fax's 2020 home kit

Halifax coach Simon Grix says he is no rush to make a decision on the future of on-trial forward Sam Barlow.

Barlow, who is coming off the back of a four-year UK Anti-Doping ban, started training with his hometown club earlier this month, with the ultimate goal of earning a deal for 2020.

Next week sees the expiry of that initial agreement, with Barlow also now eligible to sign a full professional contract under the terms of his suspension.

“We need to sit down with Sam and discuss where we’re going to go with this and that’s probably going to happen in the next week or so,” said Grix.

“We’ve got various options, including just rolling the current arrangement on into next month, but I don’t think there’s a rush for either party to make a final decision yet.

“I’ve basically told Sam not to worry about that side of things and just concentrate on the process of getting his body back into shape and being able to get from A to B efficiently on a rugby field.

“He’s doing okay and I think he’s really enjoying being back in a team environment again.

“We’ve seen glimpses in the game-related sessions we’ve done of what he’s capable of, a bit of footwork, an offload.

“But the physical reality is that he’s got four years worth of cobwebs to knock off and that takes a lot of hard work.

“He’s getting through it, and he’s making progress, but he’s got plenty of blokes around him who are working just as hard but haven’t got those four years to catch up on.

“Sam’s not a player who we need to play big minutes, and we’ve got plenty of that type of forward anyway.

“But he does need to be capable of playing quality minutes and there is some sort of minimum standard of fitness involved in that.

“We’re all doing what we can to help him get to that point, but ultimately the only person who can make it happen is Sam.”

Grix recognised the potential risks involved in keep Barlow on a trial deal, with other Championship clubs thought to be interested in the 31 year old front rower.

But the Fax boss remains relaxed about the future of a player who is attempting to do something that no player has done before him.

“If that happens, it happens,” said Grix.

“We have done the right thing by Sam, giving him a chance to get back into the game, and hopefully that makes it more likely he’ll stick around.

“If he doesn’t stay, he doesn’t stay but in my opinion the current arrangement is the best thing for him and us.

“Hopefully, we’ll both get the benefits from it.”

Fax have also unveiled their new home shirt for 2020, with a return to blue and white hoops.