Harrison: Heaton, Casey are running ahead of schedule

HALIFAX boss Karl Harrison has admitted that Lancastrian youngsters Ben Heaton and Callum Casey are both exceeding his expectations in their first seasons at the Shay ahead of Saturday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup date with South Wales Scorpions (3.0).

Casey, the son of former Test prop Leo Casey, penned a one year deal in the autumn after being released by Super League champions Leeds Rhinos.

And Heaton, a former Rochdale Mayfield amateur, agreed a two year contract after a breakthrough 2011 season with Championship One outfit Oldham.

At the time, Harrison labelled the pair as “long-term projects” but Heaton is now firmly entrenched as one of Fax’s frontline centres while Casey has featured in the club’s last three matches after edging past another youngster, Anthony Bowman, in the selection scrap.

“They’ve probably both surprised me a bit, because neither of them was proven at the top end of the Championship,” said Harrison.

“I’ve said it before, but they are both really hungry to play and to win.

“Ben was signed as a full back really, but we tried him at centre in training and he’s really adapted well.

“He wasn’t really down to be in the side at the start of the year; he was a player who we probably expected to be in for a week or two weeks and then drop back into the 23s.

“He is still raw, but he is developing well and there is a lot of untapped potential there.

“Callum has an abundance of skills and he has gone really, really well over the last few weeks.

“He is not the biggest, but he is very strong on the ball and he reminds me so much of a young Kevin Sinfield, not just in the way he plays but in his mannerisms and the way he conducts himself.”

HALIFAX’S under 23s take on Sheffield at the Shay tomorrow night (8.0).