Fax boss waits to assess crocks

In the frame: Makali Aizue
In the frame: Makali Aizue

HALIFAX boss Matt Calland is counting the cost of Saturday night’s Northern Rail Cup win in Toulouse ahead of Sunday’s showdown with unbeaten league leaders Leigh.

Fax booked their place in the last four of the NRC with a 36-26 win in the South of France, joining the Centurions, Featherstone and Dewsbury in Thursday night’s last four draw.

But victory came at a price, with Calland due to assess a growing injury list at training tonight.

From the team that started the game against Gilles Dumas’ side, full back Miles Greenwood (facial cut) and veteran forward David Larder (hamstring) are the main concerns.

Back rower Stephen Bannister, who travelled with the team but was not named in Calland’s matchday squad, injured his groin in training while another forward Sam Barlow, did not make the trip at all because of a foot problem.

“We’ll assess them all tonight, but I would have thought Miles is the one who would have the best chance,” said Calland, who watched his side roar into a 30-4 half time lead before resisting the home side’s second half revival.

“He came off and had his lip stitched and then it opened up again, but he’s got plenty of time to heal.”

The good news is that Calland should have centre Lee Paterson and half back Ben Black available for selection again after they sat out the Toulouse game because of work and family commitments respectively, while Papua New Guinea prop Makali Aizue, whose visa does not permit travel to France, will also be back in the frame.

The Fax coach also said that Dylan Nash and Ryan Clayton are edging closer to fitness.

Nash has a knee injury, while Clayton has been nursing a combination of back and finger problems.

“We’ll wait and see, although I’d hope at least one off them will be available for selection,” said Calland, who described Saturday’s performance, which ended a barren run of three losses in four games, as giving the club “something to build on”.

“It was a lot more encouraging from our point of view.”