Forwards back to boost squad

Date published: Tuesday, August 10, 2010

FORWARDS Craig Robinson and Luke Sutton will give Oldham Roughyeds boss Tony Benson a boost this week in the build-up to Sunday’s big derby clash with Hornets RL at Whitebank Stadium (3pm kick off).

Robinson, restricted by a back injury to one senior game in the last 11 weeks, came unscathed through his comeback appearance for the reserves in their 42-30 defeat by Widnes on Saturday.

Sutton, who was unavailable for that game, is expected to be back in action for the reserves in this Saturday’s clash with Leigh Centurions at Whitebank, which kicks off at 2pm.

The first team came through Sunday’s impressive 33-18 win at York with a clean bill of health, playing without on-loan half-back Greg McNally, so Benson will have no shortage of selection options in naming his side to represent second-placed Oldham against third-placed Hornets.

“We appear to have a fully-fit squad and that’s a good position to be in at this business end of the season,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton.

Mathematically, Roughyeds could still finish top and go up automatically if they win their remaining two games against Hornets at home and London Skolars away and leaders Hunslet are beaten at big-spenders Blackpool on Sunday and then by form-team South Wales Scorpions at the South Leeds Stadium.

That apart, Benson’s men will be keen to keep the momentum going by conquering their fierce derby rivals for the third time this season even though they are guaranteed a top-two finish.

A typically-tense derby battle is in prospect, given that Hornets will also be going flat out for the points in their bid to keep hold of third spot in the all-important jostle for play-off advantages.

It will be a double-header Whitebank weekend with the reserves out to complete a league double over Leigh on Saturday and thus cement a place in the Reserves Championship play-off.

They are currently lying fifth behind Whitehaven, Featherstone, Leigh and Widnes, having been handed a mythical 30-0 win in lieu of their non-fulfilled game at Barrow, whose season has ended early because they can no longer raise a second team.

Half-back Mick Diveney (calf) and prop Ben Marsden (shoulder) are doubtful, but there is a chance that Dean Hatton, who suffered a recurrence of knee trouble last week, could be ready in time.

For the first time the reserves will have their own end-of-season presentation night at Whitebank — separate from the first team’s function — on Saturday, August 21. Tickets are on sale for £7.50, including two-course supper.

The players will have a team of four in a quiz at Whitebank tonight (Tuesday), to be held in the new sponsors’ suite. Entry per team of four is £10.

Wingers Lucas Onyango and John Gillam, meanwhile, are to go neck and neck in a race to determine who is the faster, the winner to be entered in the sprints that form part of the prestigious Carnegie Nines event at Headingley Carnegie later this month. The Gillam v Onyango race will be featured in Roughyeds TV on the club’s official website from Wednesday morning.