Naylor set for ‘balancing act’

Date published: Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SCOTT Naylor plans to tinker with his promotion-chasing Oldham squad to play Gloucester All Golds at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm).

It will be Roughyeds’ last home game of the regular season and one they must win to retain their hopes of pipping North Wales Crusaders to the Championship One title.

Once the Whitebank game is out of the way, Naylor’s league leaders then drop the curtain on their 16-match campaign with a televised derby clash at Rochdale next Thursday, August 15 (7pm).

To be promoted automatically, rather than striving to get there via a five-club play-off, Oldham need to win their last two games and hope Crusaders lose one of their remaining four against Hemel Stags, Oxford and South Wales at home and London Skolars away.

Said Naylor: “These are massive games for us and they’re only four days apart.

“I’m going to make changes for that reason alone.

“It’s a balancing act. Gloucester are stronger than the side we beat 36-0 down there in April, having recruited from South Wales Scorpions, but I’ve also got Rochdale in mind so soon afterwards.”

Naylor will have to make at least one change in his back division because centre Jon Ford is probably out for the season with a dislocated elbow.

The Oldham boss is giving nothing away, but Ford’s likely replacement would be David Cookson, who returned to training last night after missing the last two games because of a long-standing family commitment.

Among others fancied to stake a claim would be new boy Tom Whitehead, who has played one game for the club at full-back, but is also said to be proficient in the skills required for half-back, hooker and loose-forward.

He was recovering from a chest infection when he made his debut, but is now said to be fighting fit and ready to go again.