But Bulls spots up for grabs

Halifax Courier - - Courier Sport - By James Roberts

HAL­I­FAX boss Matt Cal­land has re­minded his play­ers to stay fo­cused on to­mor­row’s Cham­pi­onship show­down with Bar­row (3.0) rather than look­ing ahead to next week­end’s Chal­lenge Cup block­buster against top flight neigh­bours Brad­ford.

Fax will be look­ing to win back-to-back league matches against Nigel Wright’s Raiders af­ter fi­nally get­ting off the mark with last week­end’s 56-24 trounc­ing of Dews­bury.

And while Cal­land ac­knowl­edges the tele­vised date with the Bulls - the first com­pet­i­tive derby since Fax were rel­e­gated in 2003 - is loom­ing large, he is keen for his side to abide by one of sport’s old­est mantras.

“It’s the old cliche: one game at a time,” said the for­mer Bulls three­quar­ter.

“This week­end is about the chal­lenge of beat­ing Bar­row, not Brad­ford.

“We all have to be fo­cused on that, other­wise we will slip up.

“The play­ers know they are play­ing for places in that game, and I have told them that, but that’s as much thought as we have given it.

“It’s all about to­mor­row and im­prov­ing on what we pro­duced against Dews- bury. If we do that, there is no rea­son why we can­not come away with the win.”

Cal­land’s prepa­ra­tions have been com­pli­cated by a rash of in­jury prob­lems, with three mem­bers of last week­end’s 17 - Ben Black (knee), Jon God­dard (ribs) and Makali Aizue (ribs) - not in­cluded in to­mor­row’s squad.

Hooker Bob Beswick, cen­tres Lee Pater­son and James Ha­ley, prop Michae Ostick and back rower Joe Chan­dler could all re­turn af­ter a one-game ab­sence.

“Ben, Jon and Makali’s prob­lems are all se­ri­ous enough to have stopped them from train­ing at all this week,” said Cal­land, who is also def­i­nitely with­out Stephen Ban­nis­ter through ill­ness and has a doubt over Ostick, who has a knee prob­lem.

“We’ve brought some of the play­ers who dropped out af­ter the Widnes game back into the squad and I know they are chomp­ing at the bit to get a game.

“There were some close calls with some of them for the Dews­bury match any­way and they prob­a­bly think they were un­lucky.

“I am sure they will all be re­ally fired up for this.”

Three and easy: Last week’s hat trick hero Sam Bar­low will be look­ing for more tries against the Raiders

Pic­ture: Bruce Fitzger­ald

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