Dual-reg Roberts in line for Cougars testDate published: Friday, May 29, 2015
OLIVER Roberts, a young forward from Huddersfield Giants, is included in a provisional 20-man Oldham squad for Sunday’s League One top-of-the-table clash at Keighley Cougars.
He has played only once previously for Roughyeds on dual-registration and that was on the opening day of the season, March 1, when he was Josh Crowley’s second-row partner in a 42-6 win against Coventry Bears in the iPro Sport Cup.
The 20-year-old Roberts is a dual-reg replacement for his Giants team mate Josh Johnson, who has played five times for his home-town club but misses the Cougar Park showdown because of suspension.
With Gareth Owen and George Tyson similarly sanctioned, Scott Naylor will also be examining the claims of Richard Joy, Tom Dempsey, Jack Holmes, Adam Files and Jon Ford, who has returned to Whitebank on loan after several weeks with his parent club, Salford Red Devils.
Squad: Nield, Clay, Gee, Ford, J Ward, Palfrey, Roper, Holmes, Neal, Hughes, Files, P Joy, R Joy, Crowley, Langtree, Roberts, Mason, M Ward, Thompson, Dempsey.
Naylor must reduce that squad by one for purposes of submitting a 19-strong group to the RFL later today in order to comply with new operational rules.
His final 17 won’t be known until the team sheet is posted outside the dressing room door an hour before the 3pm kick-off.
Files didn’t train last night because of a stomach upset, but he is expected to be fully functional and ready to play by Sunday.
“Keighley are a fancied side with home advantage so all the pressure is on them,” said Naylor.
“If our attitude is as good as it was when we beat Newcastle and if we execute our game plan well, then we’ll give ourselves a good chance.
“We rarely play to the same plan one game after another because each is tailored to specific demands depending on who we are playing.
“We have been working hard this week on replicating how we want to play against Cougars and how we think they will play against us.
“We’ll be fine-tuning at Saturday training and hopefully putting it all together on Sunday.”
Cougars boss Paul March expects to have Rikki Sheriffe and Jode Sheriffe back after injury, but James Feather, his captain, will have to come through a head test, after concussion, before he is cleared to play.
Former Bradford Bulls star Rikki Sheriffe has given Oldham a public warning: “We mean business and we want promotion for Danny Jones.”
His club is still coming to terms with the loss of half-back Jones, who died from a cardiac arrest a month ago after being taken ill on the field at London Skolars.
Sheriffe told the Keighley News: “We want to honour Danny’s memory by getting back to the Championship.
“We said our goodbyes to him at last Friday’s funeral and now we’ll dedicate the rest of the season to him and hopefully win promotion in his memory.
“We’ve got to have a little bit of arrogance about us, puff out our chests and show them who’s boss on our ground.
“We’ve got to rack up some points in our home games and let opponents know they have been playing the Keighley Cougars.”
Squad: Jesse Sheriffe, Jode Sheriffe, R Sheriffe, Gabriel, Lawton, Barnes, White, P March, Handforth, Brook, Rawlins, Feather, Law, Lynam, Pursglove, Lyndsay, Kelly, Cherryholme, Peltier, Bailey, D March.