Naylor buoyed by Ford update

Date published: Friday, August 30, 2013

SCOTT Naylor hasn’t given up on seeing injured centre Jon Ford in Oldham RL colours again before this exciting season is consigned to the record books.

The 19-year-old Salford City Reds prospect has spent most of it at Whitebank on loan or on dual registration, but he severely dislocated an elbow in the 44-24 win at London Skolars on August 4 and he missed the last two games against Gloucester and Rochdale Hornets.
Initially, it was thought his season was over — a big setback for the Roughyeds, who had lost their leading try scorer and a player who, with 15 tries, was one of the top finishers in Championship One.
Nearly four weeks on, Naylor has set his sights on coaching Oldham to the play-off final at Leigh on September 29, by which time he believes Ford might be ready to play again.
Said the Roughyeds boss: “His cast has been removed and everything is looking good.
“Anything before the final might be a little bit too soon for him, but if we were to get there I would like to think he would definitely be available.”
Only North Wales winger Rob Massam, with 16, has scored more Championship One tries than Ford, who is one of three Oldham players in the top seven.
Hooker Adam Files and full-back Richard Lepori, each with 11, are joint fifth.
In goalkicking, Oldham skipper Lewis Palfrey leads the way with 66.
The big challenge for Naylor and his backroom staff is to make sure the squad is primed and ready for action again in the September 15 play-off after a month without a serious game.
They were given a private run-out against a young Salford City Reds outfit last night in readiness for tomorrow’s friendly with a Leigh side at Whitebank (3pm kick off).
Said Naylor: “We’ll be taking it relatively seriously because it may be the only game we’ll get before the play-off in two weeks.
“I’ll probably use more than 17 players, mixing things up a bit in order to get some of the boys match fit in case they are needed for the play-offs.
“We did only light training last week, but we’ll start to pick up the tempo a bit now in the hope of reaching our peak by the middle of next month.
“It would be nice to get another friendly on September 8, but there are no guarantees. It’s proving difficult. We’ve spoken to a couple of clubs, but things are still up in the air.
“If we get one, we’ll use it well. If we don’t, we’ll accept it and get on with the job. There will be no negatives.”
Naylor feels sure Roughyeds will be locking horns with London or Rochdale at Whitebank in the home side’s first play-off test.
He added: “I’d be amazed if anybody else jumped into third or fourth place , but it’s mathematically possible for Hemel to do it.
“We’ve already started preparations for Rochdale or London. We’ve played both of them in the last few weeks, so all three coaches and players know a lot about each other.
“If it comes about, it will be the fifth time this season that we’ve played Rochdale and although we’ve won three of the four they have all been tough, hard-fought contests.”