The clock’s ticking

Date published: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
SCOTT Naylor admits he is fighting the clock in a bid to fill his one remaining loan spot before Friday’s Championship One deadline.
With little more than 48 hours to go, the Oldham boss hasn’t given up on it, but he is struggling to make progress.
George Tyson, Edwin Okanga-Ajwang, Nathan Mason, Jon Ford and Gareth Owen are either on loan or dual registration — Mason from Huddersfield Giants and the other four from Salford Red Devils.
Naylor has no intention of signing for signing’s sake, but at the same time he wouldn’t like to see his loan spot go to waste if the right player became available.
He said: “We are still pursuing it, but I have to admit that we are finding it difficult because clubs are not keen to let players go at this stage of the season.
“We’ll keep going, but if it’s going to happen it will have to happen pretty quickly and there’s nothing imminent at the moment.
“We are not in need of another signing as a matter of urgency, but when you are preparing for the play-offs you want your squad to be as strong as it can possibly be.”
Speaking after last night’s training session, Naylor confirmed that he expects everyone to be fit and available by weekend, apart from Adam Files.
This includes David Cookson, who has been battling to overcome a dislocated elbow, and Kenny Hughes, who has missed the last three games with an ankle injury.
“They’ve both trained well,” said Naylor. “We’ll look at them again on Thursday and check for reaction, but I expect them to be fine.”
With as many as 25 players ready for action, Naylor is planning to offer two or three of them — so far unnamed — to Neil Roden for tomorrow night’s under-20s game at Halifax, which kicks off at 7.30pm.
Hemel Stags, Sunday’s visitors to Whitebank (3pm), are the only side in the division that Oldham haven’t beaten at least once this year.
They drew 20-20 here in March and won 44-32 at their ground in June and they are here again on Sunday in desperate need of smashing Oldham’s unbeaten home record in order to regain a place in the top five.
Man of the moment in the Hemel camp is huge prop Eddie M’baraga, all 20-stones of him, who is included in the Championship One team of the week at second-row.
Hemel’s website reports that his selection was reward for his massive game in a 34-16 defeat by Hunslet in which he consistently penetrated a resolute Hawks defence.
When Roughyeds conceded seven tries at Hemel, man-mountain M’baraga was named on the team sheet as one of the halves, but he played as an extra forward in a successful ploy to dominate and intimidate the visitors’ pack.