Scott: ‘I’m a realist’

Date published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
SCOTT Naylor’s play-off preparations for Oldham RL start tonight with the first training session since the club’s 16-game regular season of Championship One rugby ended at Rochdale last Thursday.
The Roughyeds boss has stressed to his squad that it is unlikely North Wales Crusaders will slip up in their push for the title and that he expects Oldham to finish second.
Said Naylor: “I’m a realist, so we’ve got to get on with it.”
Usual match-day knocks apart, Naylor’s men came relatively unscathed through the bruising derby battle, which they won 30-25, and all the signs are that he will have a fully fit squad for the Roughyeds’ first play-off showdown on Sunday, September 15.
There is even an outside chance that dual-registered Jon Ford, who dislocated an elbow at London Skolars on August 4, might be ready to stake a claim.
Naylor added: “We have normal bumps and bruises, but nothing serious.
“We have a four-week gap and we haven’t got anything that will keep anybody out of the play-off game. It’s just a case of match fitness and keeping the intensity going.”
By the time they go into play-off battle, Naylor’s men will have had four blank Sundays in a row unless they are able to find opposition for friendly football.
They didn’t play last Sunday because the Rochdale game was moved to the previous Thursday by the RFL for purposes of Premier Sports television screening.
With the exception of Friday night’s London Skolars v North Wales game, which is also on Premier Sports, the only rugby league this weekend is the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final between Wigan Warriors and Hull FC at Wembley on Saturday.
Each Championship One club has two free weekends, or byes, during the course of the season and Oldham’s second one happened to fall on Sunday, September 1.
The play-offs begin on September 8, but as Oldham are almost certain to qualify in second place they won’t be required to play until week two, September 15.
A win in that game would take them straight through to the final on September 29 which means they might have only one seriously competitive outing between August 15 and the last Sunday in September.