Richard Marshall has been left counting the cost of last weekend’s full-blooded Summer Bash derby with Bradford Bulls ahead of Sunday’s Championship fixture at Workington (3.0).
The Halifax coach, who saw his side slip to an 18-4 loss against the Bulls, has lost three players to what he described as “long term” injuries.
Young hooker Ryan Maneely, prop Luke Ambler and versatile forward Adam Robinson will all be sidelined for the trip to play Town, and beyond.
“Ryan’s ankle injury is similar to the one we lost Jacob Fairbank with,” said Marshall.
“He’s going for a scan on it, but at the moment it’s looking like an eight week injury.
“Luke’s ruptured his medial ligament; he did it during the game but played on and, again, that’s probably an eight week absence.
“Adam’s torn his calf, so he’ll be out for a similar period as well.
“They’re all long term injuries that we can’t afford and that are going to make life difficult for us, but it is what it is.
“It was a tough game against Bradford and sometimes you pay a price for those.
“We’ve still got the quality and confidence in the squad to go up there and get the performance that we’re going to need.”
Maneely’s absence is likely to give Marshall the biggest headache, with the young former Warrington hooker enjoying a breakthrough season in senior rugby.
“We’ve got Ben Kaye who can play 80 minutes, but whether we want to Ben to play 80 minutes is another question,” said Marshall, who saw his third established number nine, Keith Holden, leave the club two weeks ago.
“We’ve got Scott Murrell and Ben Johnston who could both do something for us there, so that gives us options.
“We’ve also got young Billy Gaylor, who’s in our development squad, but it might be a bit too early for him.
“It’s unfortunate Keith’s gone, but he wanted to go and he didn’t want to wait for his opportunity.
“This is what happens in rugby; sometimes you need to be patient.”
Marshall has more choice up front, with loan recruit Tyler Dickinson, who made his debut against Bradford, and on-trial Ed Barber, who has played the last two, boosting his options.
Dickinson’s Huddersfield teammate Jacob Fairbank could also return to the reckoning after a lengthy injury absence.
“We’ve got Andy Bracek coming back after suspension and Adam Tangata in the mix too,” said Marshall.
“Jacob’s fit to play, and he’s coming in this week for our last two sessions, but he’s going to have to convince me he’s ready to go straight in to the side after such a long lay off.”
Marshall expects Town, who came from behind to win the Cumbrian derby against Whitehaven last weekend, to present stern opposition, despite his side’s relatively comfortable win over them at the Shay earlier in the season.
“They’ve improved and they’re a better side up there than they are on the road,” he said.
“They’ve got some really good players in Jarrad Stack and the young players they have from Wigan.
“We need to carry the confidence and the intensity we had against Bradford last week into this game.”