Fingers crossed for Gilly

Date published: Friday, April 19, 2013

LIAM Gilchrist is expected to be back in the running for an Oldham RL recall, after injury, for the clash with Tony Benson’s Oxford at Whitebank a week on Sunday, April 28 (3pm kick off).

One of five specialist props in Scott Naylor’s 22-man squad, Gilchrist has been out with a pulled calf muscle since he was injured in the 24-12 Northern Rail Cup win at South Wales Scorpions on March 24.
The 24-year-old front-rower, an England Students’ international whose first pro club was St Helens, has missed the first two Kingstone Press Championship One games against Rochdale at home and Gloucester All Golds away as well as the Tetley’s Challenge Cup defeat at Hunslet.
“I think he’ll get the all-clear next week, which will give me a full squad from which to select the side to play Oxford,” said Roughyeds’ coach Scott Naylor.
Vice-captain Sam Gee suffered a severely bruised shin at Hunslet, but Naylor revealed the injury had no bearing on his omission from the side that comfortably won the next match against the All Golds at Cheltenham.
Gee travelled as 18th man (reserve on stand-by), but missed out on selection in the 17 as a result of Naylor’s squad rotation policy.
Jamie Dallimore, Chris Tyrer and Danny Samuel were also rotated, making way for Neil Roden, Steven Nield, Liam Thompson and Michael Ward.
Naylor has more options than he has had for weeks with Gilchrist hoping to hit the comeback trail; Thompson back to full fitness after long-term injury; and Ward making a successful return at Cheltenham after being given a few weeks off to prepare for university exams.
Ward’s versatility, which enables him to play anywhere in the pack and also out in the centre, saw him used at Cheltenham as a replacement prop.
Naylor’s firm belief in youth was reflected in the ages of three of his four front-row forwards . . . Callum Marriott (19), Phil Joy (21) and Ward (22).
Said the Roughyeds’ boss: “Only Gilchrist missed the All Golds game due to injury. Everybody else was fit.
“Those who didn’t travel were left out only because of the need to spread our resources around and to make use of the full squad.
“Take the hooking position. I’ve got three good hookers in Gee, Adam Files and Kenny Hughes. They’re all good players who give me different attributes. They push each other, and that’s good, but as a general rule I’m only going to play two of them so it’s only fair I spread the job around a bit whenever I feel I’ve got the opportunity.
“That applies to other areas of the team as well.”
Oxford also have this weekend off and they hope that will give hooker Martin Roden and prop Chris Clarke the time they need to get over knocks ahead of the showdown with Oldham at Whitebank on Sunday week, April 28 (3pm kick off).