Scott faces selection posers

Date published: Thursday, April 23, 2015
WITH a trio of senior men waiting in the wings, Scott Naylor will again face a selection dilemma as Oldham aim to stay top of Kingstone Press League One with a win against London Skolars.

The side from the capital are Sunday’s visitors to Whitebank (3pm) where Roughyeds were last turned over in a normal league game by Tony Benson’s Oxford almost two years ago to the day.
Apart from Tom Ashton, who has a knee injury, Naylor has a full squad to choose from — and among those who didn’t play in the 50-12 win at South Wales Scorpions are three of his most experienced men in half-back Steve Roper, prop Adam Neal and winger Adam Clay.
Interestingly, in three wins from three league games so far he has played a different half-back combination each time.
It was Roper and Lewis Palfrey at Rochdale; Jack Holmes and Roper at home to Coventry; and Holmes and Palfrey in South Wales.
A new signing this season, Holmes began the season at full-back but is now providing club captain Palfrey and the hugely experienced Roper (28) with serious competition for the first time.
He has scored a brace of tries in each of his two games in the middle to take an early lead in the list of Roughyeds’ try scorers in League One.
Clay has bagged seven — one more overall than Holmes —- but all of them were registered in either Ladbrokes Challenge Cup or iPro Sport Cup ties.
In League One matches alone, Holmes is out in front with four, one more than Jon Ford.
Naylor faces a similar three-into-two-won’t-go poser at hooker where he is juggling the claims of Gareth Owen, Kenny Hughes and Adam Files.
He used Owen and Hughes at Rochdale; all three against North Wales Crusaders in the iPro Sport Cup semi-final; Hughes and Files against Coventry; and Owen and Hughes in South Wales.
As always, the Oldham boss won’t finalise his 17 until the start of Saturday’s ‘captain’s run’ and he won’t go public with it until he is obliged to pin up the team sheet outside the dressing room door one hour before kick-off.
Hooker Owen, meanwhile, will turn pundit between 6pm and 7pm this evening when he will be a studio guest on Radio Manchester’s weekly rugby league show with Jack Dearden and Trevor Hunt.
Part of the show will feature the League One campaign and focus on the respective challenges of Oldham, Rochdale and Swinton.