Marshall fears Bradford’s demise could dent Halifax’s top four hopes

Halifax head coach Richard Marshall has admitted that the recent liquidation of Bradford Bulls could work against his own club.

If a Bradford-based club does play in the Championship next year, they will begin the season on minus 12 points.

That, on paper, would increase Halifax’s chances of reclaiming a spot in the top four next season, with the Bulls one of the several clubs expected to be in the race for a spot in the Qualifiers next year.

However, Halifax have endured their own financial difficulties in the off-season, which has resulted in the club’s playing staff taking a 10% wage cut, while off-field staff members have been let go.

As a result, Marshall confirmed that Fax are not in a position to sign any of the players previously attached to the Bulls, while some of their top four rivals might be able to capitalise on Bradford’s demise.

“Players are going to be available in the market, but we aren’t in a position to secure any of them at this moment in time,” Marshall told TotalRL.

“The fallout of it is that the other Championship teams will strengthen. We’re not in a position to do that.

“They’ve got some good players that we’d have been interested in this time last year, but this year we’re in a different spot so we’re not in the market really, which is a shame.

“If there’s anyone we can help out who can’t get fixed up or any of those young players who need an opportunity, we’d welcome them with open arms.”

The two clubs hold a long-standing rivalry that spans decades, although Bradford’s relegation to the Championship ahead of the 2016 season reignited the competitiveness between the two clubs following more than a decade in separate divisions.

Despite that, Marshall insists that Halifax are desperate to see Bradford still feature in the Championship next season.

“From every angle, we want Bradford in there,” he said.

“A strong Bradford only strengthens the competition, and they are of course our local rivals. We’ve had some fantastic games with them and the supporters follow them in good numbers.

“The game is cyclical, one minute you’re winning the World Club Challenge, the next, they’ve turned out sour.

“But we all have to learn from our mistakes. We made some mistakes last year and we’re learning from ours now. Let’s just hope what’s happened to Bradford doesn’t happen again. They’ve got some really good people there and everyone at Halifax hopes they come back so we can have our ding-dong derby battles with them again this year.”