Marshall waits on fitness checks ahead of Eagles showdown

editorial image

Halifax coach Richard Marshall will wait on the fitness of centre Ben Heaton before finalising his selection for a must-win Championship fixture against Sheffield at Belle Vue on Sunday (3.0).

Heaton sat out last weekend’s loss in London with a groin injury sustained the previous week against Toulouse.

Marshall said the Lancastrian threequarter has a chance of making the cut, with his recovery likely to influence whether Londoner James Woodburn-Hall continues at stand off in place of Ben Johnston.

“We only had 18 players training on Tuesday night, but I’d hope by the weekend we won’t be too far away from the side that played against London,” said Marshall, who has all-but written off the chances of crocked trio James Saltonstall, Adam Tangata and Ben Kaye playing this weekend.

“We’re a bit busted up at the moment, but that was always the risk of having a small squad.

“Ben’s probably the only one who has a chance of playing this week, so we’ll see how he goes.

“We haven’t decided where James will play, but I wouldn’t be fazed by the idea of leaving him at half back.

“But we need to be strong defensively on the edge against Menzie Yere, so Ben’s availability might influence what we do there.”

Marshall hopes to have Salford prop Daniel Murray available again, while the Reds’ young utility back Connor Williams, a non-playing squad member against the Broncos, has played for Fax’s reserve side and remains an option.

Fax lost another player this week, releasing Connor Robinson, but while Marshall confirmed he was continuing to monitor the transfer market, he said no deals were imminent.

“If I’m honest, there is not a lot around,” he said.

“We’re looking, but it would need to be someone who would improve us and there are not a lot of those players on the market.

“We’ll look to promote from our reserves before we start panic buying.”

Fax remain fifth on the league ladder, three points shy of fourth-placed Featherstone and four clear of Sunday’s opponents.

A win at Belle Vue would restore at least some hope of a top four finish; a loss would go a long way towards ensuring a repeat of last year’s Championship Shield experience.

“We need to improve on our last two performances,” said Marshall.

“The players are still positive; we all know it’s going to be difficult to make the four, we’re not daft, but we also know it’s not insurmountable.

“Sheffield have found some form and they’ve strengthened their squad recently so we know it’s going to be difficult.

“But they’ve got weaknesses like any other side and we’ll look to exploit those.

“The key over the next few weeks though, not just on Sunday, is what we do”