Roughyeds team news

Date published: Friday, July 9, 2010

NEIL Roden and Valu Bentley, who both missed Oldham RL Club’s win at Gateshead last week, may be back on duty against Swinton Lions at Whitebank on Sunday, kick-off 3pm.

Stand-off Roden, a veteran of 243 Roughyeds appearances, was rested last week when coach Tony Benson opted for Matty Ashe and new-boy Gregg McNally at half-back on Tyneside.

Back-row forward Bentley, a New Zealander, was unavailable for selection because he was away on business.

Both are included in a 19-man squad to face the Lions, however, this comprising of the 17 players who were on duty in the 68-10 win in Gateshead plus Roden and Bentley.

Oldham (from): O’Connor, Onyango, St Hilaire, Fogerty, Gillam, Heaton, Ashe, McNally, N Roden, Boults, M Roden, Kerr, Ellison, Chandler, Hodson, Clarke, Whitmore, Bentley, Robinson.

Final selection may be taken out of coach Tony Benson’s hands because half-back Matty Ashe and utility forward Craig Robinson will face late fitness checks.

The unlucky Robinson, back in the side at Gateshead after six weeks out with a pelvic problem, has since damaged his back while working out on weights in the gym. He is said to be doubtful.

Kiwi half-back Ashe picked up calf and collar-bone injuries at Gateshead. He has made good progress this week, but will need to be cleared by the club’s medical staff before Benson names his side.

“A lot will hinge on the outcome of those fitness tests,” said the New Zealander, “but that’s all I can say until nearer the time.”

Oldham, second in Championship One and locked in a title battle with leaders Hunslet Hawks and third-placed Blackpool Panthers, will be chasing their fifth win in a row.

They beat Swinton 38-20 away on the opening day of the league campaign last February, but Benson believes his men will face an even harder challenge to complete a league double.

“Swinton always lift their game against us,” he said, “and this one will be no different, that’s for sure.”

He added: “Phil Joseph, our former player, will regard Sunday’s clash as the biggest game of the year, for obvious reasons. He won’t be on his own either. One or two of the Swinton boys always seem to think they have something to prove when they are up against Oldham.”

Swinton may gave a debut to playmaker Craig Harvey, who has joined Lions on loan from Warrington to the end of the season.

Blackpool boss Martin Crompton, who takes his troubled Panthers to Doncaster this weekend, refuses to concede defeat in the title race and says it is wide open between Hunslet, Oldham and Panthers.

He said: “Hunslet and Oldham have still to come to our place, and there’s still a lot to play for.

“We owe Oldham one, and Hunslet will be the same. Hunslet are setting the standard, but there’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge.”

Roughyeds reserves go to Sheffield tomorrow (Sat) seeking their third win in eight days following victories over Dewsbury Rams at Whitebank and high-flying Leigh Centurions at Golborne ARLFC.

Loose-forward Johnny Walker is out with a shoulder injury sustained against Leigh in midweek. He is likely to be replaced by prop Ben Marsden.