Calland calls up attacking trio

HALIFAX are poised to recall attack-minded trio Ben Black, Dylan Nash and Sam Barlow for tomorrow night’s Co-operative Championship meeting with Widnes at the Halton Stadium.

Black has missed the last two matches after his partner gave birth to the couple’s first child, while Nash has been sidelined for more than a month, initially through loss of form and then a knee ligament injury.

Barlow has been out for a fortnight after suffering a suspected stress fracture in his foot.

“They’ll all be in the squad,” said Calland, who has added the trio to the 17 that lost out 32-22 to Leigh at the weekend.

“Barlow seems to be okay now, he has trained well and looks to be recovered.

“Nash had an injection in his knee which has resolved the problems he was having.

“He’s got a couple of weeks work under his belt now and he is raring to go.

“Black’s had a lot on his plate over the last 10 days or so but he’ll be in contention again.”

Calland declined to be drawn on whether the trio would all feature on the night, although he did concede they had the potential to pep up Fax’s hot-and-cold attacking game.

One player highly unlikely to be making way from Sunday’s side is young back rower Jacob Fairbank

The dual-registered Huddersfield forward, the nephew of former Test player Karl, drew lavish praise from Calland after Fax’s post-game review session.

“Jacob made 57 tackles, which is a fantastic effort at any level,” said Calland.

“He also set a new record for our ‘game score’, which is a stat Brian Smith used to use when I was at Bradford to measure involvement.

“I am really pleased with his form.”

Fax head into tomorrow’s game looking for their first league win in four starts - with Calland conceding his players are “desperate” for their first three points of the year - although Super League-bound Widnes, who have won just one from five, are in an equally unenviable position at the moment.

And Denis Betts’ side broke with the conventions of big match preparation yesterday by announcing that four previously key members of their squad - star stand off Anthony Thackeray, hooker Kirk Netherton, back rower Chris Gerrard and utility back James Ford - will not be retained beyond the end of this season.

Courier Sport understands the quartet have effectively been told they can leave the Halton Stadium immediately if they can find new employers, making it unclear whether they will feature against Fax.