STAND by for changes when Scott Naylor names his Oldham side for Sunday’s fourth-round Challenge Cup tie against Kells.
Will Hope will miss the Bower Fold tie (3pm kick-off) after damaging a shoulder at Workington and there will be other changes too as Naylor looks beyond Kells to the busy Easter programme.
“Starting Sunday, we’ve three games in eight days, followed after Easter by Batley Bulldogs and Sheffield Eagles, both at home,” said the Roughyeds’ boss.
“I’ll be making quite a lot of changes over the next eight days because we want fresh people on the pitch, not only over Easter but in the weeks that follow.”
Hope’s absence will cause a back-row vacancy and there will also be a slot to fill at centre following Jake Bibby’s return to Salford on completion of his month’s loan.
New signing Joe Burke is over his illness and ready to make his debut, but he is cup-tied this week so he will have to wait for the potential crowd-puller against Halifax at Bower Fold on Good Friday.
Gary Middlehurst, another new forward, played his first game at Workington and will be in line for his home debut against Kells.
Lewis Palfrey (dead leg) and Adam Clay (groin) trained last night and will be available. Danny Langtree (dead leg) didn’t train, but he is confident he will be ready in time.
Added Naylor: “Will Hope is the only one definitely ruled out already. He is struggling to straighten his arm so a week off will do him good.
“Having won three promotions in a row there’s a lot of momentum behind Kells and they’ll be coming down here to play their ‘Wembley’.
“If they were to win it would be their club’s biggest day for decades, so we know it will be tough and we know what to expect.
“We are a Championship team and we have to play like one whether we are up against Kells or Wigan Warriors.”