THE line-up Scott Naylor believes will best serve Oldham against derby rivals Rochdale Hornets will comprise of 17 players who are committed to Roughyeds for the full season.
If there are any dual registered men in Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup clash at Whitebank (3pm) they will be wearing the red, white and blue of the visitors.
They won’t be playing for Oldham, Naylor having decided that a clannish feud over the back fence between warring neighbours is fuelled by local pride and is no place for reinforcements from out of town.
“A local derby is something very different; something very special,” said the Roughyeds boss, who played for Bradford Bulls in many a full-house battle with local rivals Leeds Rhinos.
Last week, at North Wales Crusaders, he used four players on secondment from partner club Salford City Reds in a 48-12 defeat.
More City Reds men were made available to him this week, but Naylor opted instead for those who took the Law Cup with them to Spotland last month and brought it home again, red and white ribbons attached, after a hard-fought 22-20 triumph.
He said: “I won’t be using dual-reg players in this game. I know what a good result will mean to the Oldham players, club and fans so I’m going for our own boys to deliver it.
“Salford have injury problems, including knocks to two of the four players who helped us out last week.
“They still offered us players, but I think it suited both clubs for us to go it alone this weekend.”
Naylor won’t name his team until training tomorrow, but he has confirmed that he will choose his starting line-up and subs from 18.
BACKS: Neil Roden, Jamie Dallimore, Dale Bloomfield, Steven Nield, Mo Agoro, Lewis Palfrey, Richard Lepori, Danny Samuel.
FORWARDS: Josh Crowley, Danny Langtree, Liam Gilchrist, Mark Hobson, Chris Tyrer, Jason Boults, Michael Ward, Callum Marriott, Adam Files, Sam Gee.
Roden, Bloomfield, Nield, Tyrer and Marriott didn’t get a game last week, so they will be keen to be given a chance against the old enemy in the first home game of the season.
Phil Joy, David Cookson and Kenny Hughes will play for the under-20s against Rochdale tomorrow at Mayfield, kicking off at noon. Depending on how they go, they may be given a first-team outing against Gateshead Thunder on Sunday week.
Naylor might also look to the under-20s to find his 18th man (reserve on stand-by) for Sunday.
Looking ahead to the game, he said: “We’ve got a full squad, no injuries and a happy camp.
“Everyone is looking forward to taking on Rochdale on our own ground and in front of our own spectators.
“It will be a tough game. There was little between us in the Law Cup and everything is pointing to another great game.
“For the 34 players on the field it will be derby-day first, Northern Rail Cup second and that’s why it has all the makings of a cracker.”
Rochdale coach Ian Talbot will also pick from strength and his side is not expected to change much, if at all, from that which hammered Gateshead 58-16 at Spotland last Sunday.
Said Talbot: “Oldham will have improved since we played them a few weeks ago. I expect them to be a tougher proposition , especially on their own ground.
“It’s going to be as much about how we cope with the conditions as how we deal with the opposition.”
Under-20s (v Rochdale tomorrow, noon kick off at Mayfield): Halsall; Woods, Cookson, Parsonage, Ward; Flanagan, Fitsimmons; Joy, K Hughes, Hudson, Hargreaves, S Hughes, Ryan. Subs: Sherratt, Hall, Sargeant, Rasool