By Jacob Kilbride
Halifax RLFC return to the MBi Shay Stadium for the first time since May as they host Batley Bulldogs this Sunday afternoon (4pm kick-off).
Halifax maintained their top four place in the Betfred Championship with a comfortable 46-4 victory away to Swinton Lions (click here for highlights), their biggest victory of the 2018 season and their biggest since a 54-0 win at Sheffield over a year ago.
Last weekend’s victory means that Fax sit fourth in the table, just a point behind Toulouse and Featherstone, who are 2nd and 3rd respectively, and a point clear of London and Leigh, who are 5th and 6th respectively.
The match will kick off at 4pm rather than the traditional 3pm in order for supporters to watch the England vs Panama World Cup match (see full details here).
Halifax’s win over Swinton extended Richard Marshall’s side’s fine run of form in the league, having now won eight of their last 11 matches.
The Blue and Whites also boast a strong home record, having not lost at the Shay in the Championship since the narrow loss to Toronto in February.
Meanwhile, Batley are currently on a four-match losing streak with defeats to Dewsbury, Toulouse and Sheffield as well as ourselves at the start of June.
Head to Head
Fax have won their last two meetings with Batley, although the Bulldogs will take confidence from a couple of recent triumphs at the Shay.
Batley won 17-12 in 2016 and came out on top 10-8 in 2014, although Fax won the most recent meeting at the Shay, with James Saltonstall and Will Sharp each bagging two tries.
James Woodburn-Hall returns to the 19-man squad after missing the last couple of weeks with a hip injury.
Woodburn-Hall hasn’t featured since playing against Batley at Mount Pleasant at the beginning of the month and replaces Will Maher.
Forwards Brandon Douglas and Harry Kidd remain sidelined with long-term injuries whilst full-back Kieren Moss is in line for a home debut.
Batley make three changes to their squad as Sam Smeaton, Dane Manning and Joe Chandler come in for Alastair Leak, Danny Cowling and Daniel Sowerby.
Halifax RLFC Squad: Ed Barber, Chester Butler, Jacob Fairbank, Dan Fleming, Shane Grady, Simon Grix, Ben Heaton, Ben Johnston, Sion Jones, Ben Kaye, Brandon Moore, Elliot Morris, Kieren Moss, Scott Murrell, James Saltonstall, Will Sharp, Adam Tangata, Steve Tyrer, James Woodburn-Hall
Batley Bulldogs Squad: David Scott, Sam Smeaton, Jason Crookes, Adam Gledhill, Dane Manning, Joel Farrell, Brad Day, James Davey, James Harrison, Michael Ward, Joe Chandler, Tom Hemingway, Alex Bretherton, Alex Rowe, James Brown, Tommy Holland, Keenen Tomlinson, Lewis Galbraith, Reiss Butterworth