Halifax have been given a filip ahead of their first Boxing Day friendly with Featherstone Rovers at the Shay (noon) with the news that utility back Ben Johnston will not require surgery on a hip injury.
Johnston, who flitted between half back, full back and the replacements’ bench in 2016, has been hampered by an issue that dogged him during the season.
Fax had feared the former Castleford junior would need surgery, which would have ruled him out for up to four months.
But coach Richard Marshall has finally received the specialist’s verdict, with Johnston now scheduled to have a cortisone injection later this week.
“Ben’s got a tear deep in his hip, and while there’s a chance he might need surgery at some stage, at the moment the specialist’s advice is not to operate,” said Marshall.
“He’ll have a cortisone injection under anaesthetic later this week and should be running again early next week.
“That should last for around 20 weeks, and while it’s not going to fix the injury, it potentially gives his body the chance to heal itself and recover.
“We didn’t want to patch him up and push him out there regardless; we’ll follow the specialist advice and see how he goes.
“In theory, he should be able to play against Featherstone, but I’m conscious he’s not got as much work done as some of the others, so we’ll see, it’s probably 50/50 at the moment.
“We’ve got other players we can take a look at too.”