Scott’s selection options

Date published: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
SAM Gee is likely to start at hooker, in the absence of suspended Danny Whitmore, when Oldham defend their unbeaten home record against Gloucester All Golds on Sunday.
Scott Naylor began the season with the luxury of four specialist hookers in Adam Files, Whitmore, Gee and Kenny Hughes.
Files soon went down with a serious knee injury, and then there were three.
Whitmore got a one-match RFL ban for throwing a punch at Gateshead, and then there were two.
In a settled side over the last few games, vice-captain Gee has played at loose-forward with Hughes on the bench as Whitmore’s replacement hooker.
Naylor could go for either of them to start in the middle of the front-row at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm), but he is known to be leaning towards play-anywhere Gee, who even turned out at centre a few times in early season.
Any other consideration apart — his liking, for instance, of the damage Hughes can cause from dummy half, coming off the bench when defences are starting to tire —- Gee’s move to the front-three would dovetail nicely with any plans he might have for recalling Mark Hobson, Liam Thompson or George Tyson at the back of the pack.
Tyson had a big game for the under-20s last Saturday, while Thompson made a successful return to action after 17 weeks out with a cheekbone injury which required surgery.
Prop Paddy Mooney also showed up well in the second team.
Said Naylor: “I have lots of difficult choices to make because the lads already in possession of the jerseys have also been playing well and winning games.
“The weekend off will have done everybody good and we must now focus on a block of four tough games before we get our next break.
“Over the course of the next few weeks I might juggle things round a bit so that we have as many players as possible fully match fit and ready to go when we hit August and September and start thinking seriously about the play-offs.”
When the players returned to training last night after a few days off, Naylor stepped back and put his No 2 Lee Spencer in charge, assisted by Neil Roden and other members of the backroom staff.
“It was a tough, demanding, physical session involving first team and under-20s — just what was needed after a break,” said Naylor.