Looking forward to Keighley match

Date published: Friday, July 22, 2011

TOP try scorer Mark Brocklehurst has recovered from a foot injury and was last night cleared to play in Oldham’s tasty clash with title-chasing Keighley Cougars at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm kick off).

The versatile 24-year-old will bid to add to his ten Championship One tries, but it isn’t yet known whether he will keep the centre spot he had at London Skolars last time out or be switched to the wing.

Marcus St Hilaire is also included in a 20-man squad — for the first time in six weeks — so coach Tony Benson will eventually name his four backs from Brocklehurst, St Hilaire, John Gillam, Mark McCully and Shaun Robinson.

Benson will trim his squad from 20 to 18 at training tomorrow morning but in keeping with his policy of the last few weeks he won’t reveal the all-important 17 until one hour before kick-off.

They will come from these:

Bentley, Boults, Bravo, Brocklehurst, Casey, Clough, Forber, Gillam, Heaton, Isherwood, McCully, Noone, Robinson, M Roden, N Roden, Stenchion, St Hilaire, Sutton, Ward, Whitmore.

Benson last night looked at his options in what he described as a “highly valuable” run-out against the Reserves, who were preparing for their game against Whitehaven at Whitebank tomorrow (2.30pm kick off).

It was thought that young prop Liam Gilchrist, back from a GB Students’ winning Test series in Australia, might have made the senior squad, but he will return to club action in the Reserves as Benson goes with three specialist front-rowers in Jason Boults, Luke Stenchion and Luke Sutton.

Having won ten of their 12 games at Whitebank, Benson’s men will be seeking their fourth win in five outings.

“I’m sure we’ll be at our best,” said the upbeat Kiwi. “We’ve trained well for this one over the past two weeks and we’ve built up confidence from our last few performances.”

Second-placed Keighley can still pip Swinton Lions to top spot and automatic promotion, but they can’t afford to drop points against Oldham and Doncaster before they go to Swinton in a televised game on Thursday, August 4.

They lost four league games in a row, but got back on track with a 92-6 win against Gateshead followed by a crucial 35-30 home victory against the league leaders which opened up the race for the title.

Investing heavily in a promotion push they have recently strengthened a big squad with the recruitment of George Elliott, Jake Worthington, Jy-Mel Coleman and former Bradford Bulls full-back Dave Halley.

Player-coach Jason Demetriou has made no secret of his plans to make life difficult for the Roughyeds’ key play-maker, Neil Roden.

“We’ll be out to pressurise Neil,” he said, “and take some juice out of him.”