Looking forward to Lucas

Date published: Friday, March 23, 2012

FANS’ favourite Lucas Onyango is back on Oldham’s right wing tonight for the first time in 11 months.

With John Gillam and Shaun Robinson out injured, the Kenyan is fast-tracked to the senior side in the Carnegie Challenge Cup third-round tie against Cumbrian amateurs Egremont at Whitehaven (8pm kick off).

Since rupturing an Achilles tendon on May 1 last year, he has played only 40 minutes of reserve-team rugby and that was three weeks ago when he tweaked a hamstring.

Onyango for Paul Ballard is one of three changes to the side which put seven tries past Gateshead Thunder last Sunday to become early leaders of Co-operative Championship One.

Out go Ballard, Mark McCully and Paul Smith.

In come Onyango, Matthew Fogarty and Bruce Johnson.

Team: Greenwood; Onyango, Cookson, Fogarty, Brocklehurst; N Roden, Dallimore; Boults, Clough, Johnson, Noone, Clarke, Thompson. Subs: Whitmore, M Roden, Ellison, Syron; 18th man, Ward.

Said coach Tony Benson: “It’s the strongest line-up available.

“Competition for places is hot when you look at the players who are not on duty tonight.

“In every game this season they will have to go flat out to keep their spot for the next match.”

Egremont coach John Brocklebank, who doubles up as club chairman, is looking to former England and Harlequins RL captain Rob Purdham to inspire his young side to pull off a shock.

An iconic figure in his home town, Purdham recently joined Egremont as Brocklebank’s assistant coach.

As a teenager he was in the Egremont side that beat Workington 18-0 on the Recreation Ground in a major cup upset in 1998.

Said Brocklebank: “Rob is a great role model and an inspirational sort of guy.

“He has helped us to get our defence right and we’ll be doing all the things the professionals do, though perhaps not as well.”

Brockebank is calling on the town’s rugby league community to get behind his young team.

“It will be a Cumbrian crowd in the main,” he said, “and that’s got to help us.

“I think we’ll handle it well. We have nothing to fear and if the crowd gets behind us anything can happen.

“I have every confidence in my lads. Whatever the result, it will be a great experience for them.”