Roughyeds gear up for last home game

Date published: Friday, August 17, 2012

MARTIN Roden expected a bumpy ride on becoming Oldham RL’s caretaker boss with three games left.

He wasn’t disappointed.

Eight-try Doncaster introduced him to the hot-seat by winning 46-22 at Whitebank and next up, on Sunday, come third-placed Workington Town with sights firmly fixed on the £50,000  prize for finishing top.

Already promoted, they have only to win at Whitebank, at bottom-club Gateshead and at home to troubled Rochdale to achieve their goal and to bring out the champagne for the second time in a month.

They threw the title race wide open by denying Barrow a bonus point in a 48-34 home win last week and at Whitebank they will be out to build on that key result by creating chances for 22-try Elliott Miller to extend his lead at the top of the division’s try scorers.

In stark contrast, the cruel misfortune that has followed Oldham around all season has struck again.

On-loan winger Rob Foxen has been recalled by Swinton Lions and almost a full Roughyeds’ threequarter line is in danger of missing the last home game of the season because of injury.

Mark McCully (shoulder) is out, while David Cookson (dead leg) and Chris Murphy (dead leg) are doubtful.

They will be assessed again tomorrow, as will Alex Thompson (shoulder) and Paul Smith, whose neck injury caused him to pull out of last week’s side shortly before kick-off.

Said Roden: “I had only 13 fit bodies at training last night, but hopefully the situation will be better by Saturday morning when we train next.

“I don’t want to pull anyone out of the reserve team’s cup-final squad, but I might have to.”

On a brighter note winger Lucas Onyango, who suffered a chest injury against Doncaster, is fully recovered and ready to play.

Workington’s Brett Carter and Stephen Dawes also miss out because of injury.

Said coach Gary Charlton: “Finishing top is in our own hands now; we’ve just got to win our last three games.

“Oldham’s players will be trying hard to impress Martin Roden. We always expect a tough game at Oldham, but so long as we prepare well we expect to be okay.”

Roughyeds won at Derwent Park 24-14 on the opening day of the league campaign, but then won only four of the next 15.

Workington picked themselves up to win 12 of their next 14 league games and to turn Derwent Park into a fortress.

Said chairman Dave Bowden: “A change of coach often brings a change of fortune, so we must guard against that.

“We mustn’t forget either that Oldham are the only side to have beaten us at Derwent Park.”

+MATTY Foreman is on stand-by to step up into the reserves’ squad for their play-off final at Featherstone tomorrow (5.30pm kick off).

Coach Paul Ashton will have to delay selection until as late as possible because of fears that at least one player from his semi-final line-up, perhaps Liam Gilchrist, will be called up for first-team duty.

To keep the cup they won for the first time last year, Roughyeds will have to inflict Featherstone’s first and only defeat this year.

They will be encouraged by their 30-30 draw at Whitebank  — the only point dropped by Rovers in the regular season.

+FOR the 90 minutes before kick-off at Whitebank on Sunday, Roughyeds merchandise will be available at half price (payment by cash or cheque only).