Marshall: Fax starting again at Rochdale

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall says his side have hit the ‘mental reset button’ on their 2019 season ahead of Sunday’s Championship trip to Rochdale (3.0).

Fax head to Spotland in eighth spot on the league ladder, with a 50 per cent record after eight rounds.

But after scraping through in the Challenge Cup at League 1 Hunslet last weekend, coming from 18-6 down to win 28-24, Marshall is keen for his players to approach Sunday’s game with a clean slate.

“We’ve not been good enough over the first eight weeks of the season as a team, and that includes me as a coach, but we can’t do anything to change that now,” said Marshall.

“But what we can do is look at the things that have worked for us over those eight weeks and build on those over the next month.

“We weren’t great against Hunslet, but I actually came away feeling like we’d got some answers.

“As much as anything, it’s a mental reset; reassessing our short term goals and starting with a clean slate at Rochdale.

“We’ve had a look at Rochdale, but this week it’s not about the opposition, it’s about us and what we do.”

Marshall said player-coach Simon Grix could feature against Hornets, while hooker Ben Kaye will also be available after a one-week suspension.

But back rower Shane Grady will miss out with a knee injury while young centre Chester Butler, who has not played for 12 weeks with a quadricep injury, is unlikely to figure after breaking down ahead of his planned comeback at the South Leeds Stadium.

Another back rower, France international Kevin Larroyer, has a sternum injury.

Generally though, Fax are likely to stick with the bulk of what eventually turned out to be a winning recipe.

That would mean the presence of young utility back Reece Chapman-Smith on the bench, with young forwards Will Calcott and Liam Cooper keeping their places up front.

“Will and Liam were both good and we’d like to keep them in the side,” said Marshall, who was also due to speak to Castleford coach Daryl Powell about the availability of forward Will Maher.

“Ben Kaye’s available, Simon might be available, so we’ll see where we’re at towards the end of the week.

“I think Reece will stay on the bench; he gives us some impact and we will keep that rotation up our sleeves.

“When he came on - with QLT going to half back and Scott going to hooker - that was the most effective change we’ve made all season.

“Reece didn’t get a lot of chances, but he made some really effective decisions.

“We just needed someone to get hold of the game for us and Scott probably did that at hooker.

“He might go there again, but it’s not as if we now see him as our hooker for the rest of the season.

“We’ve got two really good hookers, what we need is to get the forwards dominating other teams and get us playing on the front foot.”

Marshall also confirmed that one of the forwards on the fringes of first team selection, Frazer Morris, had joined Oldham on loan.

The Roughyeds already have young half back Adam Brook on a temporary deal, while winger Conor McGrath is still at York.