Marshall expects to stick with winning formula for York trip

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall expects to make minimal changes to his line up ahead of Sunday’s trip to Bootham Crescent to face Championship new boys York (3.0).

Fax posted arguably their best performance of the season to beat Dewsbury 26-0 last weekend, with Marshall omitting strike full back Quentin Laulu-Togagae and in-form loose forward Simon Grix.

Grix is nursing a stomach injury while QLT lost his place to the former Leeds junior Reece Chapman-Smith, with Marshall unsure whether either will return against James Ford’s side, who are level with Fax on eight points having played a game less.

“We might not end up making any changes this week,” said Marshall, who confirmed that James Woodburn-Hall, Harry Kidd and Frazer Morris would all play for League 1 Hunslet this weekend on dual-registration.

“We’ve got a couple of injuries and some things to think about, but it’s hard to see it changing too much after the way we performed against Dewsbury.

“Shane Grady’s knee isn’t 100 per cent and he hasn’t trained yet this week and Ben Johnston picked up a dead leg, so we’ll need to see how those two come through.

“Simon is close to playing, but I’m also aware we need a fully fit Simon Grix for the Toronto game next weekend, so there’s a decision to make there.

“Leaving Q out against Dewsbury was a big decision, and one I spent a lot of time deliberating, but leaving him out this weekend is probably a bigger one.

“York are very good defensively, they’re conceding an average of 12 points a game, so we need to make sure we’re good with the ball.

“There’s a good chance Reece will keep his spot; he had a good game against Dewsbury, but he will be challenged more this week.

“We’ll see where we end up; we’ve got a fully fit squad apart from Chester Butler and Sion Jones, so we’re not short of options.”

Much of Marshall’s homework on York has centred around a player who spent almost two seasons at the Shay, the former Hull KR half back or hooker Connor Robinson.

Robinson initially played for Fax on loan from Rovers, but eventually found himself eased out following the emergence of Cumbrian hooker Brandon Moore.

“You can’t keep them all,” said Marshall.

“We’ve lost players before and we’ll lose more in the future, it’s just part of the game.

“Connor was in a position where he was behind Ben Johnston and Scott Murrell at half back and he was at a stage in his career where needed to go and make the step up somewhere.

“He owns that team now, which is brilliant for him.

“He’s vocal, he’s industrious and his kicking game is outstanding.

“He’s certainly one for us to watch, but they’re a very good, well coached team across the park.

“But we’ll go there with plenty of confidence based on what we did against Dewsbury.

“We’re looking forward to it.”