Squad for Whitehaven

Date published: Friday, June 29, 2012

NEW on-loan capture Rob Foxen is included in a 20-man Oldham RL squad from which Tony Benson will pluck his 18 to travel to Whitehaven on Sunday.

If John Gillam passes a late test on a foot injury, Benson will be picking his two wingers from three — Lucas Onyango, Gillam and new-boy Foxen, the powerful 24-year-old from Swinton Lions.

All but one of the 17 beaten so comprehensively by Rochdale last week are in with a shout of playing at the Recreation Ground, the exception being loanee Lewis Reed, who has been recalled by Keighley.

Liam Gilchrist gets the nod as a possible replacement for Reed in the front-row, while David Cookson and Jamie Dallimore are poised to shake-up the backs, half-back Dallimore returning after a theee-match suspension spread over six weeks.

The former Great Britain amateur international played half a game in the reserves’ 60-14 thrashing of York at Whitebank last night in order to prepare him for his first senior outing since May 20.

Benson’s 18 to travel will come from these:

Bentley, Boults, Clough, Cookson, Dallimore, Ellison, Foxen, Gilchrist, Gillam, Greenwood, McCully, Noone, Onyango, Roche, N Roden, D Smith, P Smith, Thompson, Ward, Whitmore.

Roughyeds will be out to achieve their first victory in eight league games.

Said skipper Neil Roden: “We’ve no pressure on us because no one is expecting us to go up there and win

“We’ve had a rocket this week after our poor performance against Rochdale, and rightly so. A hard word now and again is good; if nothing else it shows people care, and that’s important.

“The one big thing for me that came out of this week’s soul-searching was to see how many people really cared. Believe me, we all care a lot.

“I think we’ve to go to Whitehaven, put all our cares behind us, and just enjoy the game instead of feeling under pressure all the time.

“We need to relax more.

“As Tony (coach Benson) has said, all we need is a win to get this monkey off our back and you will see a different team altogether. He’s right.”

Benson won’t finalise his line-up until training tomorrow morning.

He said: “We’ve had a bad run, but we all feel we can turn it round. We just need to play our normal game and build pressure instead of trying to score on every play.”

Since the Cumbrians won 26-16 at Whitebank six weeks ago, Howard Hill has hung up his boots and prop Anthony Mullally has joined them from Widnes Vikings on loan to the end of the season.

Hill (37) left Hensingham as an 18-year-old to sign for the then Oldham Bears club, playing 59 times for the Watersheddings outfit and scoring nine tries.

He had just signed a new long-term, full-time contract with the Bears when the club went out of business after being relegated from Super League at the end of the 1997 campaign.

He later played for Hull KR and Swinton before returning home to Cumbria, signing for his hometown team and going on to play 318 games for ‘Haven.

It will be the first time in years that Oldham have faced up to a Whitehaven side without Hill in it, but coach Don Gailer believes his replacement, Mullally, is the man to give his front-row the impetus needed to clinch a promotion spot.

Describing a ‘Haven win on Sunday as “vital” he points out that victory would give them an almost unassailable nine-point advantage over the Roughyeds in the race to finish in the top four.

He said: “Oldham will be desperate to win and they will be treating it like a Grand Final.

“Rochdale and London Skolare are also creeping into the promotion picture, but our destiny is in our own hands — we’ve just got to get out there and do it.”

Andreas Bauer is expected to play despite suffering a horrific gash from nose to chin in last week’s narrow defeat by Workington.

“He trained on Tuesday night,” said Gailer, “and he produced a gutsy effort although hsi face was badly swollen.”

++ The Roughyeds’ Supporters’ Association (ORSA) meet next Thursday, July 5, at Whitebank (8pm). Everyone is welcome, but only members can vote on issues that might arise.