Bradbury in line up against Featherstone

Date published: Thursday, January 13, 2011

MATTHEW Fogarty won’t be the only young local lad to make his Oldham RL Club debut in Saturday’s second pre-season run-out against Featherstone Rovers at the Bigfellas Stadium.

Another centre, Jack Bradbury, is also in line to put on his hometown club’s jersey for the first time, having missed the 34-28 Law Cup win against Rochdale Hornets because of a shoulder injury.

Coach Tony Benson won’t name his squad until later, but he has confirmed already that 18-year-old Fogarty will play and that 20-year-old Bradbury has recovered from injury and will be ready to line up in a revamped threequarter line.

“He’s done his rehab and has received the all-clear,” said Benson, “so he will be very much involved on Saturday, as will Matthew Fogarty.”

Bradbury had four years at St Helens, where he won a place in last season’s senior squad after working his way through the various youth development structures at Knowsley Road.

Both he and Fogarty live and have their roots in Oldham and both chose to sign for their home-town team instead of moving to Yorkshire-based Super League clubs. Huddersfield Giants were in the hunt for Fogarty, while Wakefield Trinity Wildcats were courting Bradbury.

The players are ambitious and have their sights set on a return to Super League clubs eventually, but in the shorter term they feel they have more to gain by aiming to make a good impression in Championship rugby.

Added Benson: “We will be doing all we can to progress them. This is a time of opportunity for young players, who will always be given a chance at Oldham.”

Benson hopes to finalise his squad after tonight’s (thurs) training session, but one or two players have been under the weather this week and that has delayed things.

Matty Ashe has missed most of the pre-season work because he was released to play rugby union, but he is fit and ready to play and is expected to be included in the 20 or 21 to travel, having become the latest player to sign a contract that commits him to Roughyeds for the 2011 season.

Featherstone fielded mainly a second-string side in last Sunday’s 36-22 home win over Gateshead, but they are expected to be much stronger on Saturday, although they have lost star stand-off Kyle Briggs, who has gone to Bradford Bulls in exchange for an undisclosed transfer fee.

Andy Kain, who doubles up as hooker, is expected to be given first crack at the stand-off job against Oldham, although Rovers coach Daryl Powell already has irons in the fire in his search for Briggs’s replacement.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 5.30pm. Admission is £10 adults, £5 concessions, £3 children.