London v Fax: Johnston back, Bennion set for bow, Divorty leaves

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Ben Johnston looks likely to return to the Halifax side for Sunday’s long-haul trip to play London at Trailfinders Sports Club (3.0).

But coach Richard Marshall, whose side lost out 17-12 to Batley at the Shay last weekend, says as yet it is unclear where the attacking livewire will slot into his 17.

Marshall, whose side have two wins from four starts before the clash with the Broncos, has injury doubts over half backs Scott Murrell and Gareth Moore.

Murrell sustained a facial injury against the Bulldogs but is expected to play, with Moore’s calf injury of greater concern to the 2015 Championship Coach of the Year.

“Ben will probably be back involved this week, it’s a question of whether he fits in at half back or full back,” said Marshall, who has omitted Johnston for the last two games after a shaky individual effort in the round two loss at Sheffield.

“We’ve got a big squad, a healthy squad, and Ben gives us options in both positions.

“Neither of the half backs trained on Tuesday, but I’d think Scott would come through okay and play.

“Gareth’s got a problem with his calf which is more of an issue and we’ll monitor that as we get closer to the game.”

Marshall has also added the fit again full back Miles Greenwood - who made his long-awaited comeback from a broken leg in a second team fixture at Dewsbury last week - to his squad, along with giant forward former Warrington forward Gavin Bennion, who is still making to wait his debut for the club after signing in the close season.

If Bennion does play, he is likely to replace Ross Divorty, who was given a surprise release from the remaining eight months of his current contract on Thursday.

York-based Divorty, the son of former Halifax player Gary, is in his fifth season with Fax but has opted to focus on his career as a primary school teacher.

“Miles is fit, but we’ve a question mark over him because London play on a 3G surface,” said Marshall.

“We know from training that kind of surface is not good for him at the moment and the medical advice is that it could set him back a little bit, so we may have a difficult decision to make there.

“Gavin has a full week of training under his belt and is ready to play and I would imagine he will come in to the 17 somewhere.

“He can play prop or back row and will give us some size and some aggression.”

Marshall said he wasn’t ‘panicking’ over his side’s 50 per cent record, although he acknowledged the importance of a win in the capital ahead of the home game against title favourites Leigh the following weekend.

“A win would do us the world of good, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“But we’ve performed pretty well at points in all the games so far and we know we’re not too far away.

“We certainly made chances against Batley and had a perfectly good try disallowed, but we also need to execute better when we’re in those attacking positions.

“London are a skilful team with some talented players and they’re not a side you want to give too much possession to.”