Clarke injury blow

Date published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CHRIS Clarke, the young enforcer in Oldham’s pack, is out of Sunday’s play-off clash at Workington (3pm) after pulling a hamstring while training at Whitebank last night.

“We will miss him massively,” said acting coach Martin Roden.

The 23-year-old former Oldham St Anne’s forward, who began life with the Roughyeds as a 17-year-old rookie in the reserves, has been in terrific form in the last two games, both wins, with Roden in charge.

“His contribution is always immense,” added Roden. “He’s the sort of forward the opposition are glad to see the back of when he’s spelled.

“He isn’t a flash player, he’s a prop, and a very good one too. He’s aggressive, he makes the hard yards and he hurts people when he tackles them.

“When he pulled up last night and we saw it was a bad one, he was distraught.

“I was gutted for him too. He so much wanted to go up to Workington and help us to beat them for the third time this season.

“I guess it’s the story of our season.

“He put in a very strong display at Gateshead and came through unscathed and then, in a training session, he does a hamstring. How unlucky can you be ?

“His absence will provide an opportunity for somebody else, of course, and it will be up to his replacement to do what Nobby (Clarke) would have done in a game like this and that’s to stand up and be counted.”

Roden might consider he has the man to do exactly that in another young prop, Jamie Acton.

An all-action, tearaway forward, the Londoner couldn’t play at Gateshead because he was serving a one-match ban after being sent off for fighting, along with Workington’s Elliott Miller, in the 28-18 win against the Cumbrians at Whitebank a fortnight ago.

He will be back in contention, as will Danny Langtree, another young forward who did well on debut against the Cumbrians at Whitebank.

Valu Bentley might also be considered, if he proves his fitness after a calf muscle injury, but centre David Cookson, who has gone down ill, is unlikely to be ready in time.

Roden expects to pick from the 17 who played at Gateshead, minus Clarke, plus Acton, Langtree, Chris Murphy and possibly Bentley.

Oldham (from): Greenwood, Onyango, McCully, Ward, Brocklehurst, Murphy, N Roden, Dallimore, Boults, Clough, Whitmore, Joy, Acton, Langtree, Gilchrist, Smith, Cunningham, Noone,
Thompson, Bentley.

Several trophies will be up for grabs at the reserve team’s presentation night at Whitebank on Friday. Tickets, £5 including hot supper, are available from the club office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton (tel:0161 628 3677).

Fans can pay on the night, but they are asked to ring the office first to confirm their attendance for catering purposes.