Team Update

Date published: Friday, April 1, 2011

INJURY-HIT Oldham RL Club are running out of time in a bid to bolster the squad for Sunday’s Co-operative Championship One game at Keighley (3pm).

Coach Tony Benson has given several players until tomorrow to prove their fitness after injury or illness, but he is resigned to going to Cougar Park without John Gillam, Matthew Fogarty, Neil Roden and Marcus St Hilaire.

Final decisions are awaited on Luke Sutton (dead leg), Ben Heaton (tonsillitis), Tom Wood-Hulme (back), Jack Bradbury (dead leg), Shaun Robinson (dead leg), Paul Noone (ankle) and Martin Roden, who reported a recurrence of hamstring trouble during last Sunday’s heavy defeat by Swinton Lions.

Moves aimed at bringing in reinforcements have proved fruitless up to now, but chairman Chris Hamilton and coach Benson are still working at it.

“We’ve been down a few blind alleys in the last couple of weeks,” said Chris, “and we are still on the look-out, although it’s unlikely that anything will happen now in time for us to have a new face in the side on Sunday.

“It isn’t easy. There are lots of factors involved.”

Benson said: “We’ve been desperately unlucky to be so badly hit by injury so early in the season, but hopefully things will improve sooner rather than later.

“We’ve no game a week on Sunday and all being well, most of our injury victims should be back for the London Skolars game on April 17.”

Roughyeds, meanwhile, face another stern examination at Keighley who have won five of their last six clashes with Oldham, including their 28-26 triumph in the 2009 Grand Final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington.

Both teams have had major changes of personnel since then, the biggest at Keighley seeing the departure of coach Barry Eaton and the arrival as player-coach of Australian Jason Demetriou, the former Wakefield Trinity Wildcats star.

Cougars were unbeaten under Demetriou until last Sunday when they lost at Whitehaven with a young and inexperienced half-back pairing.

The Aussie hopes to be back in the team himself against Oldham and will clearly be a massive influence.

He felt his side’s big wins against London Skolars and Gateshead did Cougars no favours in terms of preparing them for matches against Whitehaven and Oldham.

He said: “The easy wins turned us a bit soft, and when you then come up against a team that’s in your face and aggressive (Whitehaven)it’s tough to adapt.”

Roughyeds reserves are at Dewsbury Rams tonight (7.30pm kick off).