Fax pack trio in line for a return

HALIFAX look likely to welcome back pack trio Sean Penkywicz, Jim Gannon and Sam Barlow for Sunday’s final regular season fixture at Hunslet.

Penkywicz has been sidelined for a month with ankle ligament damage, while Gannon and Barlow have both had two game absences with sternum and foot injuries respectively.

But the trio were all present as Fax returned to training on Tuesday night after a week’s break, giving caretaker coach Damian Ball a welcome selection boost.

“Barring accidents, I’m 100 per cent that Jim and Sam will play at Hunslet,” said Ball, who will take the reins at the South Leeds Stadium after missing Fax’s 22-8 Co-operative Championship loss at York because of personal commitments.

“I’m 95 per cent on Penkywicz, but we just need to check that he doesn’t suffer any reaction over the next few days.

“We had a solid hour and a quarter session, with plenty of contact, and they all took a full part so it’s looking good for them at the moment.

“We lacked a bit of punch against York and they should help rectify that.”

The presence of Penkywicz would be a significant fillip, not just for Sunday’s fixture - which is a dead rubber in terms of the final league table - but for the probable play off date at Batley a week later.

“Sean’s had a good break and it probably came at the right time for him,” said Ball.

“Everyone knows how important he is to us, and you could see the difference having him there makes in training on Tuesday.

“He didn’t look like he’d had a lay off: We did some conditioning work and he was right up there at the front, so his fitness is good.

“It will be nice to have him back.”

Former Great Britain international Chev Walker is set to make his latest comeback for Bradford in Sunday’s final home game of the season.

The 28-year-old former Leeds and Hull KR centre joined the Bulls a year ago on a 12-month contract but has made just 10 appearances in another injury-ravaged season.

Walker, who missed the whole of the 2010 campaign with a badly-broken leg, tore a pectoral muscle in his third match for Bradford at Crusaders in February and then broke a bone in his foot in the Challenge Cup tie against Halifax in May.

Walker, who is currently in talks with the club over a possible new deal, will play against Crusaders at Odsal, along with half-back Kyle Briggs, another close-season signing who has hardly played this year.

The 23-year-old Briggs joined Bradford on a two-year contract but made just six appearances before going on loan to Harlequins, where he broke a wrist in his third match for them.

Bradford coach Mick Potter, who recruited Briggs after losing experienced half-back Matt Orford on the eve of the season, is confident the former Featherstone player’s best years are ahead of him.

“He’s still relatively young and I think he’s still got the ability to become a good, solid Super League player,” he said.

“He’s probably going to play this weekend.”

Salford have signed Wakefield’s 23-year-old prop forward Ben Gledhill on a three-year deal.