HALIFAX coach Karl Harrison looks likely to hand starts to winger Rob Worrincy and forward Joe Chandler in tomorrow’s Northern Rail Cup meeting with Rochdale at the Shay (3.0).
Both players sat out last weekend’s opening-day win at Dewsbury, Worrincy edged out in the race for flank places by Wayne Reittie and Paul White and Chandler missing out on a bench spot to youngster Josh Barlow.
But with the visit of Co-operative Championship winners Featherstone looming large in eight days time, Harrison hinted at a need to give all contenders for his top team a run out.
“We need to make sure the right team takes the field against Featherstone,” said Harrison, who said fitness doubts over Reittie and on-loan Wakefield forward Matt James – whose initial month-long stay expires next Friday - could open the door for Worrincy and Chandler.
“Reittie’s got a bit of a bang on his knee and James rolled his ankle early on against Dewsbury, which is why he didn’t go back on after his first spell.
“I spoke to the physio at Wakefield on Thursday and he said it’s still pretty swollen, and Matt didn’t seem too confident.
“We’ll see how they go but we’ve got cover there if we need it.”
Harrison said his side will go into tomorrow’s match “blind”, with Hornets’ complete lack of action, both pre-season and competitive, meaning an equally total absence of DVD footage.
“I don’t like it at all, but that’s how it is,” said Harrison.
“I’ve spoken to Craig Ashall about how they played last year, because we expect the style to be pretty much the same.
“I just want us to show the same attitude we had at Dewsbury; not to let our standards slip in that area.
“If we do that, we should go okay.”
After seeing the early months of his reign dogged by a catalogue of injuries, there was more bad news for Harrison yesterday.Young playmaker Callum Casey, a player snapped up from Leeds as a “project” by Harrison, will be out for two months with a cartilage problem that requires surgery
“It’s frustrating, we seem to have managed to break a few of them recently,” said Harrison. “Casey was one of the better trainers over the winter, then he got injured late in the friendly at Leigh.
“The scans have come back and he needs an op. It’s disappointing.”
LONG-term injury absentees Lee Paterson (knee) and Sam Barlow (ankle) both made successful comebacks in last night’s under 23 friendly at Featherstone.
Paterson played 70 minutes and Barlow 55 as Fax went down 42-0 against an experienced Rovers side that included former Shay prop Dominic Maloney.
“The scoreline might not suggest it, but it was a big improvement from the boys,” said coach Martin Gonzalez, whose side trailed just 6-0 after half an hour.
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