BARROW THE FOCUS: MATT
But Bulls spots up for grabs
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