Valu Bentley

Date published: Friday, April 16, 2010

VALU Bentley, Oldham’s Kiwi loose-forward, has suffered a recurrence of his early-season collar bone injury and will be out of action for three weeks to a month.

He was hurt originally in the Roughyeds’ first Northern Rail Cup game at Leigh on January 31.

He missed the next three matches in the same competition before returning to the side in the first league game at Swinton, which Roughyeds won 38-20 to spark a run of six wins in a row.

Bentley played in each of those six victories and it was in the most recent of them, a 22-16 triumph at South Wales Scorpions last Sunday, that he took another heavy challenge on the same joint.

Valu Bentley

It will be a blow to Roughyeds to be without their regular loose-forward in Sunday’s tough fourth-round Carnegie Challenge Cup tie at Hunslet Hawks (kick-off 3.00pm) when Tony Benson’s men will be striving to extend their winning sequence of matches to a magnificent seven.

Young prop Ben Mellor, a travelling reserve in Neath last week, also steps down from the squad in order to play in the Reserves at Featherstone tonight (kick-off 8.00pm).

Back in the senior squad, and expected to be pushing strongly for places in the 17 at Hunslet, will be forwards Wayne Kerr and Craig Robinson and scrum-half Matty Ashe.

Robinson (thigh) and Ashe (groin) were the biggest doubts early in the week, but their injuries have responded well to treatment and there are high hopes that they will survive vigorous fitness tests on Saturday morning.

Benson will choose from these 19: Ashe, Boults, Brocklehurst, Chandler, Clarke, Ellison, Fogerty, Heaton, I’Anson, Kerr, O’Connor, Onyango, Reilly, Robinson, M Roden, N Roden, St Hilaire, Sutton, Whitmore.

Ian Hodson is on stand-by to earn a call-up to the 19 if anyone drops out, but he will be given important game time in the Reserves tonight along with two players who will be making their comebacks after lengthy injury absences — Kashley Watkins and John Gillam.

Back-row man Watkins broke a wrist in a pre-season game at Batley last January, while winger Gillam damaged a shoulder making a heavy tackle against Hornets in February.

Said Benson: “We’re underdogs against a Hunslet team on top of its form, but we’ll be going over there in confident mood after showing a fair bit of form ourselves.

“We are trying to build a strong squad so that we don’t lose much whoever might be missing through injury. As part of that building process I am planning to share game-time around .”

The 19-man squad for tonight’s Reserve game at Featherstone is: Marc Kellett, Sean Hamilton, Michael Ward, Jamie Knight, John Gillam, Ian Hodson, Mick Diveney, Jacob Kinney, Dale Lowe, Ben Mellor, Mark Smith, Kashley Watkins, Ben Marsden, Austin Barrowclough, Michael Cadd, Simon Moores, Johnny Fullalove, Tom McMullen, Phil Joy.