Everyone fit – and raring to go

Date published: Thursday, September 9, 2010

Everyone fit — and raring to go.

That was today’s upbeat bulletin from the Roughyeds camp ahead of Sunday’s semi-final play-off qualifer against York City Knights at the Whitebank Stadium (3pm kick off).

Coach Tony Benson announced that Jason Boults (groin), Mick Fogerty (knee), Marcus St Hilaire (shin) and Craig Robinson (finger) had all been cleared to play after recent injuries.

They are included in a provisional 21-man squad, comprised of the 17 who played at London Skolars in the last game of the league campaign plus Neil Roden, Boults, Robinson, Luke Sutton and Ian Hodson, but minus new recruit Johnny Walker, who struggled at Skolars in only his second senior game for the club.

Those in contention going into tonight’s preparatory run-out at Whitebank — the second session of the week — were announced by Benson in alphabetical order:

Ashe, Bentley, Boults, Brocklehurst, Chandler, Clarke, Ellison, Fogerty, Gillam, Heaton, Hodson, Kerr, McNally, O’Connor, Onyango, Robinson, M Roden, N Roden, St Hilaire, Sutton, Whitmore.

The 21 will be cut to 19 tonight and then trimmed, at the final get-together of the week on Saturday, to the 13 starters plus four for the bench and a reserve on stand-by.

“We are preparing well,” said Benson. “Tuesday’s session was first-rate and we got a bonus when each of the injury victims were given the thumbs-up.

“We are in again tonight and then everything will be fine-tuned on Saturday morning. We will be totally focused on the big job ahead. York will come full of confidence, but we will be ready for them.”

The game will be refereed by Ronnie Laughton of Barnsley, who last handled an Oldham match when the Roughyeds lost 24-12 at Leigh in the Northern Rail Cup in the first game of the season on January 31.

Paul O’Connor, the Roughyeds full-back who won three of the club’s four 2010 player-of-the-year trophies, is one of three nominees for the prestigious Co-operative Championship One player-of-the-year award, alongside the brothers David and Paul March of champions Hunslet Hawks.

Nominees in other categories are:

Young player of the year, Tom Lineham (York), Steve Parry (South Wales), Jarrad Stack (Workington).

Coach of the year: Gary Charlton and Mark Oglanby (Workington); Martin Crompton (Blackpool), Anthony Seibold (South Wales).

Winners will be announced at the Co-operative Championships end-of-season gala dinner in Manchester on Tuesday, September 21, five days before the Grand Finals at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington. Nominations have been compiled on votes cast by the head coaches of each club.

Tickets for the Oldham-York game continue to go steadily at both clubs. The game is not all-ticket, but as Whitebank has a capacity of only 1,502, fans are advised to buy tickets in advance from the Roughyeds office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton up to 5pm tomorrow (Fri).