Scott welcomes match continuity

Date published: Tuesday, September 2, 2014
DESPITE that disappointing defeat at Gateshead, Scott Naylor has welcomed the continuity of matches ahead of the Championship One play-offs.
A year ago, Oldham played their last league game at Rochdale on August 15 — a televised Thursday night derby which they won 30-25 — and then faced a 31-day blank before meeting Hornets in the qualifying semi-final at Whitebank.
To keep the players on their toes and provide a change from normal training, Naylor arranged a game against Leigh Centurions reserves as well as practice sessions against Leigh’s first team.
“It wasn’t ideal and it wasn’t as intense as playing normal league games, but this year we are straight into the play-offs without a break and that will be much better,” said the Oldham boss.
“You can’t beat playing every week and I think we were definitely affected adversely last year by going into the Rochdale play-off tie having not had a competitive game for a full month.”
Gloucester All Golds come to Whitebank on Sunday (3pm) when Oldham will be out to beat them for the third time this year and thus go through the regular league season as the only team in the division to post an unbeaten record at home.
Victory is also important because it would mean that in the unlikely event of Hunslet slipping up in South Wales — and stranger things have happened — Naylor’s men would then claim a second-place finish and have home advantage against the Hawks in their first play-off game on September 14.
If Hunslet win at the Scorpions they will finish second irrespective of Oldham’s result and the play-off clash will be at the South Leeds Stadium.
Top-team York will have a bye on September 14 when the other tie will feature Gateshead versus Hemel or Gloucester.
The City Knights finish off with a home game against London Skolars on Sunday, but by the time they enter the play-offs on September 21 they will have had that one game in five weeks.
Gateshead, already finished, will open up their play-off campaign on the back of one game in four weeks, but Hunslet will be in a similar position to Oldham, although they were without a game last weekend.