Halifax coach Richard Marshall could recall Ben Heaton as an emergency back rower for Sunday’s round four Championship clash at Rochdale (3.0).
Heaton, who started the season opener against Featherstone on the wing but has not been selected for his side’s last two games, has been added to a squad that also includes prop Dan Fleming, who was suspended for last week’s 20-6 loss to Toronto.
Heaton looks likely to be required with both Shane Grady and Chester Butler apparently on course to be ruled out under the RFL’s new protocols governing concussion injuries, which require any player who has been concussed twice in a 12 month period to be assessed by a neurologist.
“At the moment, I don’t think we’ll have either Shane or Chester this weekend,” said Marshall, who suggested that winger James Clare was likely to be the only Castleford player on duty this week, with prop James Green, impressive against Toronto, unavailable.
“Shane’s been told he needs another week’s rest and we’re trying to get Chester an appointment so he can be assessed.
“We’ve got a few options to fill that spot; there’s young Will Calcott or we could move Jacob Fairbank in there, but Ben Heaton is probably the most obvious.
“He’ll be back in this weekend somewhere; he’s not done too much wrong to not be in the team, it’s more other players playing well.
“Steve Tyrer, James Clare and Ed Barber have been all been good and James Saltonstall has taken his chance with both hands.
“We’ll have James Clare again this week, but he’ll probably be all we take from Cas this week.
“I’m going across to spend the day at Castleford on Friday, so I’ll probably have a better idea of what we can expect from them over the next few weeks after that.”
Hornets, who are in the midst of financial problems, are something of an unknown quantity, having seen their first two league matches postponed, before they finally opened their season with a 38-6 drubbing by Dewsbury on Monday night.
“They won’t be that bad again, I can pretty much guarantee that,” said Marshall, who urged fans to turn out and help the Lancastrians through their crisis.
“They’ve a strong link with Warrington and they make good use of that.
“Harvey Livett played for them on Monday and they’ve had some good young players that I’m aware of from my time at Warrington.
“They mix that with some experienced guys like Dave Allen and Richie Lepori and they’ll pick up some wins this year; we just need to make sure one of them is not against us.
“We’ve challenged the players this week to look after the ball better and make better decisions, because that’s what’s holding us back at the moment.
“We’ve said it before, but defensively I think we’re as good as any team in the competition, but with the ball we’re not and we need to improve in that area this week.”