Oldham Look towards beating Barrow at Whitebank

Date published: Monday, March 26, 2012

PAUL Smith and Mark McCully will give Oldham boss Tony Benson selection options for Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with Barrow at Whitebank (3pm).

Neither played in Friday’s 22-14 Challenge Cup win over Egremont because they couldn’t get off work.

Back-row man Smith and centre McCully are two of the club’s most experienced players and Benson may go for experience against a Barrow side chasing its seventh win in a row.

Oldham top Championship One with a better points difference than the Raiders, both having won their two games.

The Cumbrians beat Lezignan 32-22 at Craven Park in the cup yesterday after trailing 16-0 early on.

It followed wins, in all competitions, against Workington, Swinton and Doncaster at home and Whitehaven and North Wales away.

Roughyeds winger Paul Ballard may also be back, in which case he would clash with younger brother Andy, Barrow’s full-back and former Oldham winger.

Ballard jnr scored 254 points (93 goals and 17 tries) in 18 games for Roughyeds in 2009 before leaving for Craven Park with Danny Halliwell, James Coyle and David Allen.

He still holds the all-time Oldham record for points in a game — 34 (13 goals and two tries) in a 78-10 win at London Skolars.

Oldham came through the cup win with no new injury worries.

Lucas Onyango, in his first senior game since he ruptured an Achilles tendon 11 months ago, completed the full 80 minutes.

He went down in pain in the second half and fans feared the worst.

“For a second or two I thought my Achilles had gone again,” he said. “It was only cramp, though, and once I was over that I felt comfortable doing the full game. It was great to be back.”

It was Oldham’s 16th win from 16 cup ties against amateur opposition since the new club was formed in 1997.

They have knocked out Heworth, Eccles, Wigan St Jude’s, Queensbury, West Hull, Hull East (twice), Castleford Panthers, Sharlston Rovers (three times), Saddleworth Rangers, the Army, Blackwood, Hunslet Warriors and Egremont.

The fourth-round draw will made in Wigan tonight and broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live at 8.50pm.

Free transport to Whitebank on Sunday will be laid on by The Junction, but seats must be booked early on 0161 633 2759.