Roden to look at Reserves

Date published: Friday, August 10, 2012

MARTIN Roden will watch the reserves at Halifax tonight before naming his side for Oldham’s clash with Doncaster at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm).

He will be at The Shay to specifically check out the form of John Gillam, Liam Gilchrist and Mark Brocklehurst, while hoping younger, less experienced players will also make him sit up and take note.

“I’ve had good reports of one young player in particular,” said Roden, who was placed in charge of team affairs for the rest of the season when Roughyeds and Tony Benson parted company on Monday.

He added: “I won’t be naming a line-up for two reasons — I want to play my cards close to my chest and I need to look at what we have available in the reserves before I do anything. That’s important.”

Hooker Danny Whitmore is still out with a broken hand, while on-loan winger Rob Foxen has joined the casualty list with two damaged fingers that would perhaps hinder his control of the pass or high kick.

Centre David Cookson picked up a thigh injury in the fateful 42-16 defeat at Barrow, but he is expected to pass a late test.

Roden has confirmed, however, that Lucas Onyango will be back on the wing after six weeks out with hamstring injuries and fears at one stage that he wouldn’t play again this season.

That would appear to leave Gillam or Chris Murphy to fight it out for the other wing spot, with Brocklehurst perhaps being considered as cover for Cookson in the centre.

Said Roden: “I’ve been pleased at the way the boys have reacted to my appointment and to the slight changes I’ve introduced into training and match preparation.

“I’ve not altered things much — just a few tweaks.

“I’ve only got three league games in which to make a difference, so I’m concentrating mainly on motivation and rediscovering a sense of pride.

“Doncaster are a big set, whom Paul Cooke guides around the field from stand-off. We know what we need to do.”

Roden will have 21 players to pick from, plus any others who catch his eye from the reserves’ game.

Squad: Dallimore, Cookson, Thompson, Brocklehurst, Gilchrist, McCully, Gillam, Clough, Clarke, Smith, Boults, Ellison, N Roden, Bentley, Stenchion, Noone, Ward, Onyango, Murphy, Greenwood, Acton.

Jamie Acton, who can play prop or second-row, has given impressive performances in the last three reserve-team outings and he might find himself promoted as a young, strong forward who is in a rich vein of form.

At the other end of the age scale Onyango knows time isn’t on his side if he is to re-establish himself as a crowd favourite.

He said: “I’m buzzing. I’ve been out for weeks and it has been hard watching the side going through a bad patch.

“I’ve had loads of rehab and physio. I’ve worked hard to get back to 100 per cent, but I’m pain free now and all ready to go.

“This is the final push.”

Doncaster, second in the table and already promoted, are the division’s top scorers with 575 points —- 216 more than Oldham.

Coach Tony Miller insists they will not let standards drop despite last week’s 25-18 loss at Whitehaven and the fact that promotion is already secured.

“We’ve got to keep going,” he said, “because I want to take some momentum into the play-offs.”

Prop Mark Castle has been named Championship One player of the month for July.

Far from sitting on laurels, however, Miller has strengthened by signing giant centre or second-row man Lucas Walshaw on dual registration from Wakefield.

Doncaster (from): Waterman, Colton, Spurr, Cowling, Sanderson, Cooke, Fawcett, Castle, Kesik, O’Loughlin, Robinson, Kelly, Emmett, Powley, Hughes, Lawton, Spiers, Walshaw.

The winners of tonight’s reserve team play-off tie between Halifax and Oldham at The Shay (8pm) will go to Featherstone in the final next Saturday, August 18, kick-off 5.30pm.