WITH Lewis Palfrey and Danny Langtree picking up knocks in a 23-12 defeat at Workington, Oldham will welcome the break from Championship action when they play amateurs Kells in the fourth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm).
Langtree limped off with a dead leg with quarter of an hour remaining at Derwent Park, to be followed soon afterwards by his captain, nursing a similar injury.
Both will be assessed at training tomorrow, together with two players who were fighting off illness over the weekend, Jon Ford and new signing Joe Burke from North Wales Crusaders.
Tom Ashton is out of hospital and back home after his emergency operation to remove a burst appendix, but it will be several weeks — maybe two months — before he is ready for contact training again.
Peter Smith, the Kells coach, ran the rule over Oldham at Workington where he was also summarising on the game for local radio.
Kells were beaten by Siddal at home on Saturday in their first game in the NCL premier divisision after winning promotion.
Gary Middlehurst, Oldham’s other new signing, made his debut alongside Langtree in the second-row at Workington where Roughyeds, 16-12 down with a few minutes left, missed a great opportunity to win the game after a defence-bursting break by Danny Grimshaw,
Middlehurst’s inclusion meant the end of Josh Crowley’s remarkable run of 81 appearances in a row, stretching back to the first game of the 2013 season when he made his debut in Scott Naylor’s first game in charge.
He played in all 24 games that year; all 25 games in 2014; and all 28 games last year; as well as the first four outings in the Championship this year.
In most of his 81 appearances he has played 80 minutes, although there have been odd occasions when he has started on the bench or has been substituted during a game.
Vice-captain Sam Gee also failed to make the 17 at Derwent Park as Naylor opted for three hookers — a tactic that often worked like a charm in League One last year.
Young centre Jake Bibby’s month-long loan agreement with Salford Red Devils is up this week and it remains to be seen whether it will be renewed.
The Oldham Roughyeds Supporters Association (ORSA) are offering hospitality at the Kells game on Sunday at Bower Fold. At £25 a head, it includes pre-match buffet, pre and post-game speeches and interviews, a main-stand seat and use of a pay bar in the sponsors’ rooms.
To book ring John McAndrew on 07980129541 or Paul Hulbert on 07534329674.