Noone expected to debut on Sunday

Date published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NEW signing Paul Noone trained with Oldham RL for the first time last night and is expected to make his Roughyeds debut against Whitehaven at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm kick off) in the club’s third and final pre-season outing.

The 29-year-old former Warrington, Widnes and Barrow second-row forward, who can also play at loose, was reported to be “fit and raring to go”, which was more than could be said of head coach Tony Benson.

The Roughyeds’ team boss, laid low by a virus, took the precaution of staying at home last night while his second-in-command, Martin Roden, took training.

“Tony felt rough, but apart from that it was wise of him to keep away from the players,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton. He said Benson hoped to be back on duty later in the week.

Ben Heaton, Neil Roden and Andy Isherwood received treatment for knocks during last Saturday’s game at Featherstone, but they are expected to get the all-clear.

Valu Bentley, Dave Ellison and Chris Clarke, who all missed that game, could get a call-up in the Roughyeds’ last warm-up match before the big kick-off against Hunslet Hawks at Whitebank in the Northern Rail Cup on Sunday, February 6 (3pm kick off).

New Whitehaven coach David Seeds is under no illusions over the task facing the relegated Cumbrians in Co-operative Championship One this season.

He expects life in the third tier to be just as rugged as the Championship where Whitehaven plied their trade for many years before coming down at the end of last season.

“I don’t think it will be as fast, but physically it will be up there,” said Seeds, who believes Workington Town and Swinton Lions will be among the challengers.

Fresh faces will be given a chance at Oldham to stake first-team claims. Seeds is keen to use the game at Whitebank to try different combinations and look at new players ahead of the visit of Leeds Rhinos to the Recreation Ground seven days later.

Prop David Ford, who hurt a knee in the narrow defeat by Workington, is back training while experienced duo Howard Hill and Craig Calvert might also be given a run-out at Whitebank.