Bentley and Heaton updates

Date published: Thursday, February 17, 2011

OLDHAM RL boss Tony Benson will give Valu Bentley and Ben Heaton as long as possible to prove their fitness in time for Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup clash with Swinton Lions at Salford (3pm).

Loose-forward Bentley was knocked out at Halifax last week in a fierce tackle by Sam Barlow which referee Jamie Leahy placed on report before awarding Oldham a penalty.

The RFL disciplinary body will now look at the incident on DVD and decide whether Barlow has a case to answer, but Oldham are still waiting to hear the decision.

“We naturally want to know the outcome, but I haven’t heard anything yet, nor have I had the opportunity to look at it on DVD,” said Benson.

He said Bentley was taking things easy this week and doing only light training.

“With any injury of this type you’ve got to exercise caution,” added Benson, “but we are keeping a close eye on him and we will assess him later in the week.”

Valu Bentley

Full-back Heaton, who has a sore groin, will also be given until Saturday before Benson makes a decision, guided by the player himself and by physiotherapist Rachel Johnson.

It was during the pre-match warm-up at Halifax that Heaton reported discomfort in his groin. He was examined in the dressing room, but the medical staff were satisfied there was neither a tear nor a pull so he got his wish to start the game.

“Ben told us later that it went easier,” said Benson, “but at half-time he needed to stay on the move and that’s why he was out doing a light jog around the pitch rather than sitting down with the rest of us in the dressing room.

“We brought him off in the second half as a precaution and, like Valu, he has been careful what he has been doing in training this week so as not to risk aggravating it.

“We are monitoring him at each session, but we won’t make a decision until Saturday.”

Swinton, beaten by Halifax and Leigh in their first two games, expect to have prop Joe Fitzpatrick back after a chest infection although his fellow front-rowers Dana Wilson (ankle) and Richard Flooks (knee) are still a couple of weeks off full fitness.

They have also lost the services of Andy Ainscough, who has joined the Marines, and Carl Sneyd, who is taking time out to recover from long-term injury.

The Lions’ line-up in a 42-22 defeat at Leigh last Sunday included four former Roughyeds players in centre Gavin Dodd, scrum-half Ian Watson, loose-forward Lee Wingfield and substitute Phil Joseph.

Roughyds fans planning to go to the game should note that, after several seasons at Sedgley Park, the Lions are now ground-sharing at the Willows with their Salford City Reds neighbours.

Oldham season-ticket holders can gain admission for £10, as opposed to the normal £13, if they produce their ticket books at the turnstiles.