‘It’s all on the day’ – NaylorDate published: Friday, September 4, 2015
SCOTT Naylor has rubbished suggestions that Swinton will be intimidated by Whitebank and by Oldham’s phenomenal record on the ground other clubs love to hate.
Roughyeds go into Sunday’s big game armed with the knowledge that they’ve lost only one league game at home in the last 26, stretching back to April, 2013.
That, says the Oldham boss, is an irrelevance — a record keepers’ statistic and no more than that in terms of balancing the pros and cons of an intriguing contest.
With two games to play, Naylor’s men head the division with 34 points — three more than third-placed Swinton.
Oldham have won their last 11 games; Swinton their last nine, including away games at second-placed Keighley, Newcastle and North Wales.
Said Naylor: “Look, playing at home is an advantage. We enjoy playing at Whitebank and, in the main, other teams don’t.
“But we’re talking here about Swinton Lions — a hugely experienced side who had three seasons in the Championship before coming down this time.
“They’ve won everywhere else this season so why would they be worried about playing at Whitebank ? They’ll be coming expecting to win.
“Stats like ours count for nothing in the heat of battle; it’s all about what two teams do on the field over 80 minutes on Sunday.”
Naylor’s big concern is how best to compensate for the loss of the suspended Sammy Gee and Adam Neal.
He added: “They’ve been top players this year. They’ll be a big loss. It will be difficult without them, but we’ve just got to get on with it.”
Naylor will pick from 21. There will be no team announcement until an hour before kick-off, but the Oldham boss has confirmed that new-boy Will Hope, signed on deadline day but still waiting for his debut, will be in a provisional 19-man squad that he will be required to submit to the RFL, as is normal practice.
Oldham (from): Lepori, Clay, Tyson, Ashton, Ford, Holmes, Hewitt, Palfrey, Roper, P Joy, Owen, Files, Hughes, Liku, Hope, Ward, Thompson, Crowley, Langtree, R Joy, Dempsey.
Lions boss John Duffy will field an experienced side, including centre Stuart Littler (36), full-back Ritchie Hawkyard (29) and forwards Jordan James (35) and Tommy Gallagher (31).
Swinton (from): Hawkyard, Robinson, Littler, Rothwell, Butt, Mort, White, Atkin, James, Ackers, Morrison, Barlow, Beecham, Dwyer, Lever, Thornley, Austin, A Lloyd, R Lloyd, Govin, Gallagher.
Said Duffy: “Oldham are the only team to beat us at Sedgley Park. They’re the most consistent team in the division so it’s going to be a big test for us.”
Swinton have only played twice previously at Whitebank and not since they won 68-24 in a Championship One game in 2011. The previous year Oldham won 42-30 in their first season at Whitebank.