Loooking towards first playoff match against Hornets

Date published: Friday, September 9, 2011

CENTRE Mark McCully (knee) and scrum-half Carl Forber (groin), who both missed last week’s win at Workington, have recovered from injury and are included in a 20-man Oldham RL squad for Sunday’s Championship One play-off at Rochdale Hornets (3pm kick off).

Coach Tony Benson was further buoyed by the medical verdict on teenage centre Matthew Fogarty, who picked up an elbow injury at Workington, but who was also cleared to play at Spotland.

The triple tonic was just what Benson needed as he prepared a Roughyeds squad that will be seeking a sixth play-off victory in a row (finals apart) going back to the 2008 campaign.

This will be Benson’s third play-off series in charge of Oldham and he has yet to be beaten in the run-up to finals, having guided Roughyeds to the big day at Warrington in both 2009 and 2010.

The one doubt is full-back Ben Heaton, whose ankle injury continues to be monitored. He will be tested again tomorrow, when the squad will regroup for its final briefing, before Benson names his 17.

Squad:  Bentley, Boults, Bravo, Brocklehurst, Casey, Clough, Dallimore, Fogarty, Forber, Gilchrist, Gillam, Heaton, McCully, Noone, Robinson, M Roden, N Roden, Stenchion, St Hilaire, Whitmore.

“We’re quietly confident,” said the Roughyeds boss, “because we’ve shown some consistency over the last ten games and we are doing the important stuff in every game. Our three previous wins against them this year, though, will count for absolutely nothing in a sudden-death tie.”

Hornets, boosted by their 34-28 win at Swinton last Friday, are likely to call up Gary Samuels to replace the suspended Gary Middlehurst in the second-row.

Coach John Stankevitch has called on his side to produce an “aggressive performance.”

He said: “When we’ve played Oldham previously this season we’ve lost the plot defensively. We need to have some bite about us.

“In the other games Neil Roden has been the difference. We have allowed him to run the show. We can’t afford to let him play in a dinner suite.

“It’s been ridiculous how easy he has found it in our last two meetings. We need to put him under pressure every time has gets the ball.”

Squad: English, Bloomfield, Gorton, Pike, Saywell, Hough, Crook, Roper, Cookson, McDermott, Bowman, Newton, Mervill, Donoghue, Samuels, Ashall, Ekis.

There will be a bucket collection for the family of Swinton and former Oldham forward Dana Wilson, who died in a car crash near Warrington last weekend..

Tickets, £3 including supper, are still available up to 5pm at the Roughyeds office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton for tonight’s Extended Scholarship (under-18s) presentation night at Whitebank.