Bensons thoughts about the week ahead

Date published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
TONY Benson won’t lose sleep at the daunting prospect of taking his injury-hit squad to St Helens on Friday in the last 16 of the Challenge Cup.
The Oldham boss will strive to bridge the chasm in class between Championship One part-timers and Super League giants without his two second-row anchor men, Paul Noone and Paul Smith.
Noone (ankle ligaments) and Smith (hamstring) are already ruled out while Lucas Onyango (hamstring and knee) and new signing Graham Holroyd (ankle) will have fitness checks later in the week.
Line up Neil Roden (leg injury) and John Clough (suspension) alongside Noone and Smith and it means that four of Benson’s five designated squad leaders will miss the Roughyeds’ big night out.
Martin Roden, the one surviving member of the “think tank”, would seem the obvious stand-in as captain, but Benson says he has still to decide who will lead his troops into battle on the big stage.
“On the contrary, this is an exciting time for a club like ours,” he said.
“Fans would have loved to see us play at Whitebank, but that wasn’t possible so we have to move on and we are delighted to be playing at Langtree Park.
“We are taking on one of the best teams in the country in one of the best new stadiums in the country and it doesn’t get much better than that.
“Some of my lads will never again get the chance to play in a cup-tie like this.
“The younger blokes will see the tie as a benchmark for the levels they aspire to reach eventually.
“We are the only Championship One club in the last 16 and that means a lot to the players and a lot to the club, which will hope to do well financially out of the tie.”
Benson will name a 19-man squad later today.