Halifax will give competitive debuts to former Castleford hooker Brandon Moore and ex-Huddersfield forward Elliot Morris when they face St Helens amateurs Pilkington Recs in the Challenge Cup at Langtree Park on Saturday (2.30).
Both players made impressive starts to their Shay careers as Fax held Super League high flyers Widnes to an 18-18 draw in pre-season and have continued that form in the reserves, with Moore - last season’s under 19s Player of the Year for the Tigers - shining particularly brightly.
Now coach Richard Marshall will give both youngsters their first senior starts as his side look to end a run of three straight losses.
“Both Brandon and Elliot will play this week,” said Marshall.
“Brandon especially is biting at the bit; we didn’t want to put him in before he was ready, and before he really understood the role the hookers play in our team, but he’s ready now.
“He’s a dynamic player, strong and fast, and we’re excited to see him, and Elliot, play.
“They’ve both gone well in the reserve grade and there are a few more players behind them in that side who look like they might start pushing for places as well.”
Marshall confirmed Miles Greenwood would continue at full back after making his senior comeback after a year long injury absence last weekend, although hooker Ben Kaye (concussion) and half back Ben Johnston (knee) are both expected to miss out.
“Ben Kaye’s still not quite right and Johnno played most of the Leigh game with a knock to his knee,” said Marshall, who will pair Gareth Moore and Connor Robinson at half back.
“I was really pleased with Miles last weekend though.
“He looked like he had never been away, which says a lot about him, and he’ll be the first name on the teamsheet this weekend.”
Marshall said this weekend’s tie had come at the “right time” after a hat trick of league reverses, albeit by narrow margins, left his side on the back foot in the Championship.
“It’s been frustrating, because we have been in all of those games,” said Marshall.
“It’s six competition points that have gone and we can’t get back.
“We’re going in blind this weekend; there’s no footage of Pilkington available, but they’ve beaten London Skolars so they’re a team we’ll respect.
“I spoke to Jermaine Coleman down at Skolars and he mentioned a couple of players, but generally this week is about us and how we want to play.
“We’re taking a strong team and it’s a game we need to win.”