MATT Calland has admitted he has a massive selection headache as his side prepare to kick off their Co-operative Championship title defence in Toulouse tomorrow night.
The Shay boss has named a 20-man party that will fly out of Liverpool on their way to the south of France today, a squad that already has some noticeable omissions.
Veteran forwards Paul Smith, Frank Watene and Makali Aizue will not travel - the trio are all unavailable for a variety of reasons - but Calland still faces some difficult choices.
“I’ve had a lot of headaches this week,” said Calland.
“It’s a bit clearer now, but there are still four players going for one spot on the bench.
“It’s been difficult, they are all desperate to play and won’t be happy at being left out, but it’s been a nice problem to have.
“The guys that don’t play tomorrow might well get a chance at Whitehaven on Wednesday night.”
The back row berths will be particularly hotly contested, with at least five players gunning for two places.
The front row looks more clear cut, with Jim Gannon and Neil Cherryholme in line to start and Michael Ostick a certainty to take a bench spot.
“That’s where the game will be won,” said Calland.
“If you look at Toulouse’s best performances, like when they won at Featherstone last season, their pack, with Brendan Worth in there, has been awesome for them.
“If we can match them there, we have the backs to finish them off.
“Jim will come back in, and I was pleased with both Ostick and Cherryholme last weekend.
“Neil’s had some bad luck with games being cancelled but he did everything I asked and Michael just picked up where had left off against Oldham with some really strong carries.”
Calland claimed he was still undecided on whether he will be able to accomodate all three of his half backs - Ben Black, Graham Holroyd and Danny Jones - in his final 17.
“I’ve had a lot of thoughts, but no decisions yet,” he said.
Halifax (from): Greenwood, White, Haley, Nash, Worrincy, Jones, Black, Holroyd, Cherryholme, Beswick, Gannon, Ostick, Larder, Bannister, S. Barlow, Fairbank, Penkywicz, J. Barlow, Chandler, Clayton
Three Chamionship players have been suspended following indiscretions in in recent Northern Rail Cup ties.
Featherstone Rovers player Tony Tonks has received a two match ban and a £50 fine after the RFL Disciplinary Committee found him guilty of a Grade B offence for making dangerous contact in the 44th minute of his side’s clash with Widnes Vikings.
Sheffield centre Menzie Yere received a one match ban and a £50 fine after he was found guilty of a high tackle during his side’s game against Hunslet Hawks
And Batley Bulldogs hooker Kris Lythes was handed a one match band and a £50 fine after he was found guilty of a Grade B head butting offence in the 76th minute of Batley’s 26-25 victory over Halifax at the Shay.