Fax return to training, Widnes friendly confirmed

Ben Johnston could need hip surgery
Ben Johnston could need hip surgery

Halifax’s players kick off their winter training this week with a trip to the sports science labs at St John Moore’s University in Liverpool for physiological testing.

The trip, organised by conditioner Andy Holleyhead, will give the club’s backroom staff detailed body composition information for each player.

“We’re heading over there on Sunday for some testing, which will give us some detailed information on each individual,” said Marshall, who has also completed his side’s pre-season programme with a fixture at Super League outfit Widnes on Sunday, January 15.

“It’s something Andy’s set up with the academics there; they get their research information and we get to use that in a practical context to make the work we do with the players more specific.

“We did some work with Huddersfield University last year, and that might be repeated again this winter, and it gives us access to knowledge we otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Fax will then slip into a three-sessions-a-week programme, mixing gym work with field sessions at their Calderdale College base and the infamous hill runs at Shibden Park.

That leads into the Boxing Day fixture against Featherstone at the Shay (noon), with the game against the Vikings (3.0) before another top flight team, Salford, visit the Shay on Sunday, January 22 (3.0)

Marshall, who lost assistants Chris Rose and Marlon Billy in the club’s close-season cost cutting, confirmed that senior players Simon Grix and Scott Murrell will both play a role on his staff, although at this stage that will be an informal arrangement.

“I’ve spoken to them both, and they’ll both play a part,” said Marshall.

“My style of coaching involves the players in any case, so it’s not a massive shift.

“I’m not going to start putting labels on people at the moment though.

“We’ll give it a few weeks and see how things work out.”

Marshall’s side are expected to return with a largely clean bill of health, the exception being utility back Ben Johnston, who has a hip problem that could yet require surgery.

“We’re waiting for the final word from the specialist on Ben, but if he does need an operation then hopefully that will happen in the next week or so,” said Marshall.