We can do it – Mark Hobson

Date published: Thursday, March 28, 2013

MARK Hobson says Oldham CAN make it three wins out of three in the Good Friday derby against Rochdale Hornets at Whitebank (kick-off 3pm)

There isn’t much between them and, having suffered two defeats by their fierce local rivals in six weeks, Hornets will be hellbent on sweet revenge on the first day of the Kingstone Press Championship One campaign.
“We’ll be ready for the backlash,” said Hobson, Oldham’s 26-year-old loose-forward, who was a Rochdale player for four seasons before relocating to the Roughyeds last autumn.
Rochdale were perhaps marginally the better side in the Law Cup clash at Spotland in February, but Oldham found a way to win 22-20.
Three weeks later, at Whitebank, Roughyeds gave their best all-round performance since Scott Naylor became coach to win 26-10 in the Northern Rail Cup and to dominate from start to finish.
Deflated Hornets boss Ian Talbot, who brought in dual-registered Lee Gaskell from St Helens to provide additional attacking guile, said Hornets had mistakenly tried to out-muscle Roughyeds forwards up the middle.
Assuming Talbot won’t want to see Hornets erring twice, will they plan to go wide and move the ball from wing to wing ?
Said Hobson: “They’ll target our fringes. They haven’t done much up the middle in the last two games, so they’ll attempt to hurt us on the edges.
“Things have moved on since I left Rochdale, particularly following their link-up with Saints. But they’ve still got the same go-to players in Steven Roper, Wayne English and Paul Crook, three we need to watch closely.
“We haven’t seen the best of Rochdale, nor have they seen the best of us.
“We train to play fast, open rugby on a firm pitch, but conditions largely dictate how you play and on a wintry day at Whitebank it’s probably going to be another forward battle.
“Stand by for the toughest game of the three, by far.
“There’s more at stake than in the other two because both clubs have targeted promotion as their season’s goal and there’s nothing like getting off to a good start.
“We’ll have to play significantly better than we did in South Wales, but if a side can grind out a win when things are not going according to plan it’s got to be a good sign.
“We will need to work and graft for 80 minutes, but I’ve no concerns in that respect because our work ethic is first class and we’ve got grafters in abundance.
“Fans will be watching two teams who I think will be in contention for promotion. North Wales Crusaders and London Skolars will also be in the shake-up.
“It looks like being a cracker.”
Naylor won’t name his team until training tonight, but he is expected to pick from the 17 who won in Neath last Sunday plus skipper Lewis Palfrey, Sam Gee, Danny Samuel and Michael Ward.
Oldham (from): Lepori, Agoro, Cookson, Nield, Bloomfield, Roden, Dallimore, Gilchrist, Files, Boults, Crowley, Langtree, Hobson, Joy, Tyrer, Hughes, Marriott, Palfrey, Gee, Samuel, Ward.
Rochdale have injury doubts concerning skipper Wayne English, Jordan Case, Mike Ratu and Dayne Donoghue.
Hornets (from): English, Langley, Stewart, Sutton, Crook, Roper, Cookson, McLurg, Thompson, Baines, Donoghue, Case, Trumper, Lloyd, Davies, Waring, Frodsham, Ainscough, Bate, Walker, Ratu, Hull, Goodman, Llewellyn, Hough.