Halifax boss Richard Marshall has warned his players they all need to find “an extra 10 per cent” ahead of Sunday’s Championship Shield semi final against Sheffield Eagles at the Shay (3.0).
Fax go into the last four clash on the back of some indifferent form, struggling to beat relegated Workington - who travelled down the M6 with only 14 players - 46-26 on home soil last weekend.
But after seven weeks of games that were effectively dead rubbers - Fax were already virtually guaranteed a semi final berth by virtue of the points they accrued during the regular season - Marshall is expecting his team to rise to the do-or-die challenge presented by Mark Aston’s outfit.
“I think everyone needs an extra 10 per cent on their game this weekend I think they will find that,” said Marshall, who said he wasn’t “reading too much” into Sheffield’s bizarre 80-0 caning at Bradford last weekend.
“We’ve had a good week’s preparation and they need to be confident and relaxed rather than trying too hard and getting anxious.
“Our minimum aim at the start of this competition was to make the final and we’ll do that if we can beat Sheffield.
“We know we need to be better and we will be; if we turn up and play like we did at the weekend we’ll get pumped, there’s no question about that.
“On their day, Sheffield are one of the best side’s in the Championship, even though they’ve had their problems this year.
“They’ll challenge us down the middle, so we need to be ready to contain that and we need our half backs to dominate in a way they haven’t done since we won at Bradford in the summer.”
Marshall will bring back star turns Adam Tangata and Scott Murrell, who were both rested last weekend, while threequarter Ben Heaton is rated a 50/50 chance with the knee injury that ruled him out against Town.
Tangata is expected to resume in the back row, with Murrell going to half back.
Two-try rookie centre James Woodburn-Hall is also tipped to keep his place after grabbing the man of the match prize against the Cumbrians.
“I don’t see why James won’t keep his place, there’s definitely a player there,” said Marshall, who has Heaton, youngster Chester Butler and the versatile Ed Barber as alternatives.
“He was pretty tired at the weekend, that’s the first time he’s played 80 minutes at that level of performance for a while, but we’ll freshen him up and see how he recovers.”