Iain’s out, but for how long?

HALIFAX coach Karl Harrison has almost certainly ruled Scotland international Iain Morrison out of Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup clash with Featherstone Rovers.

But the former Test prop has said he is “hopeful” that the knee injury Morrison sustained in the 38-6 win over Rochdale Hornets at the weekend is not as bad as first feared.

Morrison, who was taken to hospital for X-rays during the game after feeling something “pop” after catching his studs in the turf, underwent an ultrasound scan in Halifax yesterday.

Doctors have now requested an MRI examination, although Harrison said the initial signs were relatively hopeful.

“Iain needs another scan, but the specialist didn’t seem to think it was as serious as it first appeared,” said Harrison, who signed the highly-rated Londoner on the back of two injury-disrupted seasons with Sunday’s opponents.

“It sounds like there is some ligament damage, but Iain seemed very, very positive.

“He was going to start doing some rehab work on it, and the doctors have given him the okay to do that, so we’ll see how things progress from here.

“Unfortunately for us though, it looks like he is not playing this weekend.”

Harrison, who said his team for the meeting with the Co-operative Championship champions “virtually picks itself” given Fax’s extensive injury list, confirmed he was close to agreeing an extension to Wakefield’s Wales international prop Matt James’ loan deal with the club.

The downside is that the front rower, whose initial month-long stay expires at teatime tomorrow, is unlikely to be fit to play against Featherstone after twisting his ankle at Dewsbury 10 days ago.

“We are hopeful that Matt will be staying with us beyond this weekend, but the Wakefield physio tells me he’s no good for Sunday in any case,” said Harrison.

Halifax officials have confirmed that Sunday’s crowd will be segregated, with Featherstone supporters confined to the Skircoat Stand, with admission via the Hunger Hill turnstiles. Extra stewards will also be on duty.

Recent encounters between the two clubs have been marred by crowd violence, with the assault on Halifax supporter David Singer at the 2010 Grand Final preceding a mini-riot at Post Office Road after Fax’s NRC semi final win last June.