Valu’s fight for fitness

Date published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012

UTILITY forward Valu Bentley faces a touch-and-go fight for fitness in time for Oldham’s important last game of the regular league season at Gateshead Thunder on Sunday (3pm kick off).

The Kiwi’s calf injury forced him to miss the impressive win against Workington Town at Whitebank last time out — and his chances of being fit for this must-win encounter on Tyneside are said to be in the balance.

If Roughyeds, currently seventh, are to finish in the top-six and qualify for the play-offs they need to pick up three points and hope that title-chasing Doncaster can win at London Skolars to deny the Londoners their first ever appearance in the end-of-season competition.

Caretaker boss Martin Roden will start his Oldham preparations at training tonight, knowing that he will have problems finding two props to provide the back-up for Jason Boults and Liam Gilchrist in the front-row.

Luke Stenchion is out with a broken hand, Jamie Acton faces possible suspension, Danny Langtree is away on holiday and David Ellison has been unable to train in recent weeks due to work commitments.

In those circumstances versatile Bentley’s ability to play anywhere in the forwards would be useful, but everything will hinge on whether his injury responds to treatment and rehab in the next few days.

Club chairman Chris Hamilton, meanwhile, has still to decide whether to enter early guilty pleas for Acton and Stenchion, who face RFL charges for punching in the flare-up at the end of the Workington game which resulted in two players from each side being ordered from the field.

Acton has been charged with a grade ‘B’ offence and Stenchion with a less serious grade ‘A’.

An early-guilty plea would probably provide Acton with a one-game ban, which would rule him out of the clash against bottom-of-the-table Gateshead, who have lost all 16 league games and face the additional burden of a home match with Workington tomorrow.

Said a philosophical Roden: “Our job this week is to go to Gateshead, be the best we can be — and win. What happens elsewhere is out of our control. What will be will be.”

Fans are reminded that the reserve team’s presentation night, sponsored by Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre and celebrating their second grand final appearance in a row, will be at Whitebank on Friday week, September 7, starting at 7.30pm.

Tickets, priced £5 including hot supper, are on sale from the Roughyeds office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Roary, the Roughyeds mascot, will be in Limeside Park on Saturday to support the newly-formed junior rugby league club Limehurst Lions, who will be involved in the Hollinwood Olympic Finale Fun Day from noon to 4pm.