Marcus pushing to get back in squad

Date published: Wednesday, July 20, 2011

MARCUS St Hilaire, Oldham RL Club’s most experienced player, is pushing for a recall to the Roughyeds’ side in Sunday’s clash with second-in-the-table Keighley Cougars at Whitebank (3pm kick off).

Aged 34, and with more than 200 Super League appearances on his CV, the former Leeds, Huddersfield and Bradford ace is fully fit and back in training after six weeks of inactivity.

He last played on June 12 in the 35-18 home win against South Wales, after which injury, holidays and work commitments pushed him into the background.

Matthew Fogarty (twice) and Mark Brocklehurst have filled the right-centre berth in the three games since then, but with both those players battling to shake off injuries, St Hilaire could get the nod.

“He’s certainly back in contention,” confirmed upbeat coach Tony Benson.

Brocklehurst is being monitored for a foot injury, while unlucky teenager Fogarty had no sooner recovered from an elbow injury he picked up in his exciting performance against Whitehaven three weeks ago when he damaged a hand in an accident at work.

“Both are keen to play,” added Benson, “but we’ll have to look at them again later in the week.”

Brocklehurst apart, everyone who played in the narrow 36-34 defeat at London Skolars last time out has been cleared to play, Callum Casey (dead leg), Ben Heaton (head injury) and Martin Roden (knee) having had time to recover fully.

St Hilaire, Liam Gilchrist (back from the Great Britain Students’ stunning wins in Australia) and possibly Fogarty will give Benson options.

“It should be a cracking game,” he said, “because Keighley need to win to stick on the heels of leaders Swinton, while we want three points so as not to lose touch with the teams just above us.

“We’ve had some great training sessions since we lost in London and on Thursday night we’ll be going head to head with our Reserves team so that we can perfect one or two tactical matters.

“Keighley have made four signings in recent weeks and have been rewarded with wins, but we believe we have it in us to win our last five leading up to the play-offs, so this game will definitely be a marker.”

Looking to crucial challenges that lie ahead, he said most of the players who were out with long-term injuries were making good progress, although there were concerns about Mick Fogerty’s knee injury because it wasn’t showing significant improvement.

Updates on other casualties read like this:

Chris Clarke (broken thumb): a splint will be removed on Friday. If all is well he could be back after two weeks of rehab.

Lucas Onyango (Achilles): improving daily. Is targeting mid-August for a return.

Bruce Johnson (finger): Sees a specialist on Friday. Hopes to be back soon.

Dave Ellison (elbow): Training hard in the gym, but still two weeks away from his next hospital appointment.

Benson said they were all keen to play again this season and were all working hard to give themselves the best possible chance.