Scott weighs up his options

Date published: Thursday, March 12, 2015
KEEN to give themselves the best possible chance of moving into the semi-finals of the new iPro Sport League One Cup, Oldham will go to Barrow on Sunday (2pm) with a squad which Scott Naylor believes to be the strongest he has available.

By talking publicly of “tough decisions” in team selection, he has hinted already that he won’t allow himself the luxury of fielding three hookers in his 17, as he did in the second of the two Coventry ties when Gareth Owen started and Adam Files and Kenny Hughes were among the replacements.
The inference is that one of them will make way for another prop or another second-row man with both Nathan Mason and Danny Langtree in the frame, although ‘Langers’ still has work to do in order to prove his fitness after hamstring trouble.
On long-term loan from partner club Huddersfield Giants, Mason was rested last time out, but would be expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet for the Roughyeds’ first major test of the new season.
A fully-fit Langtree would also walk into the side, but he is still battling to overcome an injury that kept him out of the two ties against Coventry.
A decision will be delayed as long as possible, but Naylor insists that he will err on the side of caution in order to protect his star second-row man from undue risk with the season still in its infancy.
“Danny is still spending time with the physio, so at this stage he has to be classed as doubtful,” said Naylor.
“We won’t rush him. If he were to get a recurrence it would undo all the good work that’s been done in rehab so far, and it might mean he has to carry it for the rest of the year.
“We need him to be fully mended and then we can pick him at the right time and for the right reasons.”
Huddersfield’s young prop Michael Learmonth, whose short-term loan agreement ends soon, was given his Roughyeds debut in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie but, interestingly, neither his Giants colleague Mason nor any dual-reg players from the Super League club were involved.
Added Naylor: “We had to consider that Huddersfield players turning out for us last Sunday would have been cup-tied and unable to play for the Giants further down the line in the Challenge Cup.
“That doesn’t apply this week, so we might also
have some dual-reg lads back with us again.
“It’s going to be exceptionally tough at Barrow, who were in the Championship last season, so we’ve got to be at our best and at our strongest.”