Out to repel the Welsh invasion

Date published: Friday, June 13, 2014
SCOTT Naylor expects Oldham’s players to respond positively to his wake-up call and to repel the Welsh invasion at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm) with all guns blazing.
While Naylor questioned the attitude of his troops after their defeat at Hemel Stags, the Scorpions from Maesteg were basking in the afterglow of their first win of the season at London Skolars.
But with half the season gone, the league table doesn’t lie . . . the Welsh are bottom and Naylor’s men are third from the top, only one point behind the leaders.
“I don’t expect us to play like we did last week,” said the Oldham boss of the 44-32 defeat in Hertforshire in which Roughyeds conceded seven tries.
“We’ve got to get back on the horse and start to play the sort of rugby that is expected of us.
“South Wales put 46 points past Skolars in London so they’ll be coming to us on a high.
“They’ve improved steadily over the first half of the season, but we’ll be ready for them.”
Naylor will have to make at least one change because Danny Langtree will be serving a one-match ban.
He hinted post-Hemel that he might make more alterations to the make-up of his side, but he is still considering his options.
Among players who didn’t go to Hemel, and thus escaped his tongue bashing, were Brett Robinson, Paddy Mooney, Liam Thompson, Mark Hobson, Ben Wood and Alex Davidson.
Added Naylor: “As far as numbers are concerned I’m a bit top heavy in the forwards and I’m on the light side in the backs.
“I’m not big on making wholesale changes, but I’ve got to replace ‘Langers’ and that will probably mean changing the team round a bit.
“He’s an 80-minute man, and players like that are not easy to cover.
“It gives me a dilemma. Liam Thompson is available again after injury, but I could have done with him playing for the under-20s first and their game on Thursday was postponed.
“So it begs the question: would it be risky to recall a player who’s been out for three months when I’m already without a regular who has proved himself time and time again over 80 minutes ?
“To be honest, I don’t know yet what I’m going to do, but whatever route I go down will be chosen for the right reasons.”
Scorpions coach Mike Grady hopes to have one of his most experienced forwards, Phil Carleton, available again after injury.
He said: “Any pressure is on Oldham. It was great to get our first win. All we need to do now is go out and enjoy ourselves at Whitebank. Bring it on !”
OLDHAM (from): Nield, Agoro, Cookson, Ford, Bloomfield, Palfrey, Roper, Robinson, Boults, Whitmore, Joy, Crowley, Gee, Tyson, Ward, Hughes, Mason, Mooney, Thompson, Hobson, Wood, Davidson.
SCORPIONS (from): Sheridan, Scrivens, Pring, Wilcox, Leyshon, Emanuelli, Wilde, East, Farrer, Elliott, Connor, Phillips, Vitalini, Davies, Dallimore, Bateman, Phillips, Carleton, Luckwell. Giles.