Whitmore injury scare

Date published: Friday, September 7, 2012

DANNY Whitmore limped into Whitebank for training last night after going over on an ankle at work.

On examination by physiotherapist Rachael Johnson he was ordered to sit out the session and have treatment instead, though it was stressed that this was merely a precautionary measure.

“It isn’t serious. I’ll train on Saturday and I’m sure I’ll be okay for Sunday,” said Whitmore, who only returned to the Oldham RL side in last week’s win at Gateshead after two months out with a damaged hand.

Relieved boss Martin Roden, already robbed of the services of prop Chris Clarke with a hamstring injury, immediately named the versatile Whitmore in a provisional 20-man squad for an elimination play-off at Workington Town (3pm) which promises to be a humdinger.

The 23-year-old former Salford City Reds junior covers for both half-back and hooker and, as such, is a key member of the squad.

Roden will name his 18 to travel on Saturday, but the backs pick themselves with Miles Greenwood at full-back, Lucas Onyango, Mark McCully, Michael Ward and Mark Brocklehurst in the threequarters and skipper Neil Roden and Jamie Dallimore at half-back.

With one exception, Dave Cookson for McCully at right-centre, that was the back division which rattled the Town threequarters in Oldham’s 28-18 win over the Cumbrians at Whitebank three weeks ago.

It isn’t as easy to second-guess what Roden might do with his pack.

At the very least he will have to find a replacement starting prop for the injured Clarke and he could go for any one of four — Liam Gilchrist or Phil Joy, who both played at Gateshead, or Jamie Acton (suspension) or Danny Langtree, who didn’t figure on Tyneside, but who both played outstandingly well when the sides last met at Whitebank.

Acton would be the one to ruffle a few Cumbrian feathers, but only Roden knows — and he isn’t saying — whether he would prefer to start with the fiery, London-born cage-fighter or bring him off the bench for impact when he thinks the time is right.

Roden will also have decisions to make in the back-row where, if Valu Bentley passes a late test on his damaged calf, he will have five players chasing three starting props — Paul Smith, Sam Cunningham, Alex Thompson, Bentley and Paul Noone.
Provisional squad: Greenwood, Onyango, McCully, Ward, Brocklehurst, Murphy, Boults, Clough, Whitmore, Gilchrist, Joy, Acton, Langtree, Smith, Cunningham, Thompson, Noone, Bentley, Dallimore, N Roden.

Said Roden: “We’ve improved week by week since I took over and we’ll certainly be going up there to give it our best shot.

“I said when I took over that I would be the happiest man around if I could improve the side individually and as a team, and I think that has happened.

“It’s now down to the boys. I can’t do much more. We are all going up there to do our genuine best.

“The prep has been done, and we’ve done it well.

“I’m not one for making predictions or getting into a slanging match with other coaches. If we do our best we can’t do more —- and what will be will be.”

A lot has been said in Cumbria about the “weakened” sides that Town put out in their shock defeat at Gateshead and their home win against a Rochdale side which included many unknown youngsters.

Of the Town team that played at Whitebank, however, 11 of them turned out at Gateshead, while 13 played against Hornets.

Town expect to be at their strongest for weeks, but they will be without Dan Rooney and former Super League star Peter Lupton, both with serious knee injuries, while full=back Brett Carter’s chances of returning after stomach surgery are said to be no more than 70/30.

Flying winger Elliott Miller, sent off with Acton after the free-for-all at Whitebank last month, will definitely start on the wing, after a two-match ban.

Said joint coach Gary Charlton: “He’s big, fast and strong and a handful to keep hold of.

“We were bitterly disappointed with our two performances when beaten twice in the league by Oldham.

“Now comes our chance to avenge those defeats.”

Town (from): Carter, Calderwood, Miller, McAvoy, Patrick, Mossop, Frazer, Petersen, Forber, Thackray, Olstrum, Mattinson, Coward, Phillips, Stack, Annakin, Whitehead, Shackley, McDonald, Robinson.