‘Langers’ and Files boost OldhamDate published: Friday, June 5, 2015
ADAM Files and Danny Langtree came through fitness tests on thigh muscle strains last night to give Oldham a double tonic ahead of Sunday’s big game against North Wales Crusaders.
Full-back Steven Nield is out with a knee injury, as expected, but forwards Files and Langtree trained with the squad as usual.
They picked up knocks at Keighley, but their injuries have responded to treatment and they will be ready to do battle with a confident Crusaders side that won at Whitebank 18-16 in the IPro Sport Cup semi-final on April 8.
Versatile Sammy Gee, the Roughyeds’ play-anywhere vice-captain, is also back to his best after struggling with a stomach upset at the end of last week’s game at Cougar Park.
“Apart from Steven Nield who is injured and Jarrod Ward who has left the club, everyone who played at Keighley is again available for selection,” said coach Scott Naylor.
Finding replacements for those two won’t be easy, but Jack Holmes and Tom Dempsey will be knocking on the door and Naylor also has the option of bolstering his back division by going to Huddersfield Giants for dual-registration reinforcements.
“I’m sure we’ll be fine,” he added.
The Oldham boss won’t be short of options in the forwards with Josh Johnson available again after suspension; Richard Joy chomping at the bit for another chance; and Oliver Roberts also thought to be available again on dual-reg.
Crusaders have also had their injury worries, headed by their two senior backs Christiaan Roets and Stuart Reardon.
Roets (ankle) and Reardon (knee) both missed Crusaders’ iPro Sport Cup final triumph against Swinton Lions and they were also ruled out of the next game against London Skolars.
Crusaders are saying nothing about their prospects for re-appearing at Whitebank, but if there’s half a chance you would expect coach Anthony Murray to go with at least one of them, if only on the bench.
Ex-Roughyed Jamie Dallimore will probably be partnered at half-back by Karl Ashall.
Dallimore usually reserves his best for games against Oldham, as he did in the cup semi-final when George Tyson was sin-binned early in the second half for an alleged late challenge on ‘Dally’ after he had put in a kick.
Also key to Crusaders’ success is the experience and prowess of their back-three forwards, Jono Smith, Stephen Wild and Gary Middlehurst.
Smith has scored more League One tries than anyone else in the division, ten, and if you take all competitions into account the top two at this level are Smith and winger Rob Massam, both on 13.
After a poor first-half at Keighley, Roughyeds will need to improve significantly in order to hold on to an unbeaten home record in the league, stretching back for more than two years.