By Jacob Kilbride | Photo by Simon Hall
Halifax RLFC head coach Richard Marshall believes his side will have to produce “an outstanding performance” if they are to defeat Super League outfit London Broncos in the Coral Challenge Cup fifth round on Thursday night (7:30pm kick-off).
Halifax recorded their highest points tally since June when they defeated Rochdale Hornets at the Crown Oil Arena on Sunday and they’ll be eager to record a third straight win against London on Thursday.
The Broncos have defeated reigning champions and former champions in Wigan and Leeds respectively and Marshall is aware of the challenge his squad faces.
“This is a difficult game, London aren’t a Championship side anymore, they’re a proper Super League side who have had wins over Wigan and Leeds this year already, so that shows their class,” said Marshall.
“They’ve improved a lot since we last faced them, so we’ll have to produce an outstanding performance to win this week.
“We’ve put out a group that we believe is capable of competing and hopefully it can get us into the next round of the Challenge Cup, which would be massive for the club.
“We’ve picked our strongest squad from the players that are fit. Those that aren’t in there from last week are injured. But, that gives the younger lads a chance to come in and take that opportunity.
“They’ve put out a strong squad, so they’re certainly taking this game seriously. Both sides are respecting the Challenge Cup and both want to be in the next round.”
Scott Murrell (groin), Jacob Fairbank (neck), Brandon Moore (hip) and Will Sharp (ankle) miss out after featuring in Sunday’s win over Rochdale.
While it’s a blow for the side, Marshall believes the players coming in from the club’s esteemed Reserve grade can make an impact.
“The injury situation it’s not ideal of course,” added the head coach. “But, without our Reserve grade – and those fantastic volunteers who do an excellent job in terms of fundraising – then we’d be struggling to field a squad.
“Because of what we’ve done over the past 3 or 4 years, we’re able to put together a really strong side. We’re still working hard and we really want to do a job on London this week.”
Reflecting on the weekend’s win over Rochdale, Marshall commented: “I thought, aside from the two tries that were scored late in each half by Rochdale, that we played really well.
“We were pretty good value for the win. I thought that our attack clicked. The two tries that I mentioned were soft, I felt.
“Ultimately, we’re still conceding far too many points. Obviously, our attack was a lot better this week and that managed to get us the win.”