Derby day squad

Date published: Friday, April 2, 2010

ROUGHYEDS kick off their two-game Easter programme at Rochdale today (3.00pm kick off)when coach Tony Benson will choose his final 17 from a 21-man squad.

It comprises the 17 who were on duty in the impressive 29-16 win at Hunslet three weeks ago plus Danny Whitmore, Chris Clarke (after injury) and new signings Ian Hodson and Luke Sutton.

Clarke, the young back-rower, played in the first four competitive games of the season before breaking a wrist in the Northern Rail Cup tie against Sheffield Eagles at Sedgley Park more than four weeks ago.

Tony has announced his squad in alphabetical order as follows: Ashe, Bentley, Boults, Chandler, Clarke, Ellison, Fogerty, Heaton, Hodson, I’Anson, Kerr, Mansfield, O’Connor, Onyango, Reilly, Robinson, M Roden, N Roden, St Hilaire, Sutton, Whitmore.

Roughyeds go into the game with the club on a high after celebrating an end to 13 years on the road without a ground to call their own.

Fans are naturally going to be in party mood, but Tony and the players hope the Good Friday game will merely be a taster ahead of the REAL celebrations at Sedgley Park on Monday when Workington are the visitors.

“We need all the support we can muster in both games, but especially in Monday’s showdown with Workington when we will be playing our second game in four days,” said Tony.

There is also the financial side of things to be considered. Roughyeds have yet to play in front of a crowd topping four figures other than their opening Northern Rail Cup tie at Leigh at the end of January.

“We need some money coming into the club,” said commercial manager Rachael Marsters, “and that’s why it is so important that we get lots of support on Monday when we will be playing our first ‘home’ league game of the season and the first since we got the momentous news on the ground.

“If ever there was a time for fans to unite in celebration this is it and we hope as many fans as possible will get to Sedgley Park to share in what should be a real party atmosphere —- off the field, of course.”

Fans were quickly responding to the big news on the ground within hours of Oldham Council’s Cabinet voting it through.

Many left messages of congratulations on Facebook, Twitter and the internet message boards, while other messages of goodwill arrived at the club by email or were handed in personally at the club office.

Other fans called in at the office to volunteer their services on the big spruce-up job now being undertaken at the White Bank Stadium.

“We’ve got the best fans in the business,” said Tony B, “and they really deserve any success we can give them.

“Whatever happens at Rochdale today, I hope they will turn out in numbers on Monday because that’s our next ‘home’ match and we all know that home is where the heart is even if we can’t get into it for a week or two yet.”

Roughyeds had their first public consultation meeting with local residents in the clubhouse on Thursday evening when the platform consisted of club chairman Chris Hamilton, the new White Bank ground safety officer and a representative from the club’s architects, who will be taking a prominent role in the development of the stadium over the next five years.

Mr Hamilton assured residents that the club wanted to work with them and would be prepared to hold similar consultation meetings on future dates.