Steve Roper update

Date published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014
HALF-BACK Steve Roper, who has joined Oldham on loan, wasn’t considered for the Oxford game because he didn’t train on the Thursday night before the game, explained coach Scott Naylor.

“He trained with us for the first time last Tuesday, but on Thursday he had a family commitment at a christening,” added the Oldham boss.
“We’ve got a couple of weeks now to prepare for our next game against York and he needs to spend time with us and work hard with us.”
Wigan-born Roper (27), formerly with Wigan, Warrington, Widnes and Workington, is in his sixth season at Rochdale and has recently had a month on loan at Gloucester.
He said: “I’m excited at the prospect of playing at Oldham. I’m still under contract at Rochdale and if everything goes okay in my month at Oldham I would like to stay longer, maybe to the end of the season.
“Rochdale won’t release me, but we’ll see how my month goes and if Oldham still want me at the end of it we’ll see what happens.”
Roper’s chances at Rochdale this season have been limited because Ryan Millard, Paul Crook, Sean Casey, James Dandy and Lewis Sheridan are all competing for the two half-back spots and the hooker’s role.
Hornets insist that Roper is in their plans and that they are only willing to let him out on loan so he can maintain his match fitness.
They were happy for him to go to Gloucester but as he has a young family and a demanding full-time job it was in everyone’s interests for him to take up the Oldham option.
Roper played alongside Sam Gee at Warrington and he was in the same Rochdale team as Mark Hobson and Dale Bloomfield. He and Hobson were also at Workington together.
He added: “Scott (Naylor) spoke to me a few weeks ago on the very same day I had just signed for a month with Gloucester. It was too late to do anything about it at that stage.”
Oldham came through the Oxford game injury free and Naylor believes that 24 of his 25 senior players could be available for the York game on Sunday week.
Liam Thompson is a long-term injury victim, but the 24 would include Roper as well as three players who should be fit by then, namely Jason Boults (Achilles), Adam Files (knee) and Paddy Mooney (back).
Oldham under-20s provided Neil Roden with the first win of his coaching career when they beat North-East Academy 48-6 at Whitebank on Saturday.