Fax’s Saxton eyeing spot for Rovers showdown

Tommy Saxton
Tommy Saxton

Recalled Halifax winger Tommy Saxton is hoping to keep his place in Richard Marshall’s side for Sunday’s date with Featherstone at the Shay (3.0).

The former Rovers player, a mainstay of the Daryl Powell-coached sides that dominated the Championship, made his first competitive start of the season in last weekend’s 6-2 win at Batley.

But with young speedster James Saltonstall looking like nailing down the left wing spot, Saxton knows he has his work cut out to hold off the challenge of fellow specialists Alex Brown and Gareth Potts.

“All the wingers are having to work hard; James has come in and he’s probably been our best player overall across those first three games,” said Saxton.

“He’s quick and deceptively strong and the rest of us are just trying to take our chances when we get them.

“I dropped the ball a couple of times on Sunday and went into my shell a little bit, but I thought I played better in the second half.

“I did my carries, but I can play better than that.

“It’s hard to get any footwork going in those conditions, but hopefully I’ve done enough to play next week.

“It was a tough game for both sides, it wasn’t one for expansive football, more of a forwards game through the middle.

“We spoke at half time about having confidence in our ability, but also being aware that they were going to come out really strongly for that first 20 minutes.

“That’s what John Kear does, gets them fired up, and we expected it.

“We were on the back foot for a bit, but we stuck with it, got our kicks in and got the result.”

Saxton’s association with Rovers adds significance to a game that will see the teams meet for the first time since Andy Hay’s side effectively wrapped up second place in last season’s Championship with a win at the Shay in August, a result that effectively cost Fax £250,000 in lost prize money.

“It’s a big game, especially for me if I get the chance to be involved,” said Saxton.

“They got beat by Bradford last weekend, so they’ll be wanting to bounce back.

“There was a lot of expectation on that game last year; it was important for both clubs to finish second and that just about sealed it for them.

“I wouldn’t say we owe them one, but it would be nice to try and set the record straight a little bit.

“We’ve won two out of three now, so we can be confident.

“It would be nice to kick on, show where we are against a benchmark team and get the win.”