Barber added to Fax side for Bulls derby

Brandon Moore keeps his place at hooker
Brandon Moore keeps his place at hooker

Halifax coach Richard Marshall expects to make just one change to his side for Friday night’s Bank Holiday derby contest against Bradford at Odsal (8.0).

Utility player Ed Barber, who has not figured since the loss at Hull KR three weeks ago, is tipped to come into the side at the expense of Ryan Lannon.

Lannon’s absence means Fax will not use any Salford players on dual registration against the Bulls, although that could change for the Easter Monday meeting with Oldham at the Shay (7.30).

“We won’t use any dual reg on Friday, although I’ll talk to Ian Watson at Salford on Saturday and see where we’re both at for Monday’s game,” said Marshall, whose side moved into fourth - above Batley and London on points difference - after last weekend’s win over Dewsbury.

“Ed needs to play, so he’ll come in for Ryan on the bench and that will probably be the only change.

“I was happy with Ben Heaton, Rob Worrincy and Brandon Moore against Dewsbury, so they’ll all keep their places.

“We’ve got a few players waiting in the wings as well, so we’re pretty healthy at the moment.

“It could be an important weekend for us; I don’t look at the table too much, but I think if we’re where we are now on Tuesday morning that would be great.

“We are defending okay, and we had to in that first half against Dewsbury.

“The attack was really scrappy at times, but that’s always going to be the case when you’re completing at 60 per cent, which was rubbish really.

“We’ve looked at that this week and we know we’ll need to be better than that against Bradford.”

The Bulls are currently bottom of the league ladder as a consequence of the 12 point deduction following their financial collapse over the winter.

But with former Manly coach Geoff Toovey - still precluded from taking official charge because of work permit issues - waiting in the wings, a full time playing squad and a playing record equal to Fax’s, Marshall was happier talking up the Odsal side rather than writing them off.

“Let’s not kid ourselves, this is a top four game, whatever the table says,” he said.

“They’re in a false position because of things that went on off the field.

“They’ve got a coach who’s been at the highest level, a full time squad and some senior players who’ve played at international level.

“They’ve beaten Toulouse and Batley at Odsal, so we know they’re a good team at home.

“We want to go there and play with some confidence, contain their experienced players and look for our senior players - guys like Scott Murrell, Simon Grix and Ben Kaye - to take control.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

The Bulls will be without the Leeds half back Jordan Lilley, who has been recalled by the Rhinos.

The loan spell of the Salford prop Daniel Murray has also come to an end, potentially opening the door for him to play for Fax on dual registration on Monday.