WHEN Featherstone Rovers come to Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm), Scott Naylor will be looking to Oldham to showcase the form that stung Batley Bulldogs and Sheffield Eagles in the Roughyeds last two games at the Stalybridge venue.
They followed up with that sensational Ladbrokes Challenge Cup win at Hull KR, but then let their standards slip when returning to KP Championship action at Whitehaven, where they went down 14-6.
“It’s harder to stay a winner than to become one,” said the Roughyeds boss, inferring that opposing teams and coaches will show his former League One champions far more respect now than they would have done earlier in the season.
While still Championship rookies, Oldham were beaten 20-6 at Featherstone in February, but the score didn’t reflect the visitors’ contribution to a tight game, Rovers leading only 12-6 for long periods and going from 14 to 20 on the last play of the game as the hooter sounded.
Two months on both teams have injury concerns and both are partnered with Super League clubs whose dual-reg support has been hampered by their own heavily-populated medical rooms — Huddersfield Giants in Oldham’s case and Leeds Rhinos, who are linked with Featherstone.
Of the 17-man squad that won at Hull KR, Kenny Hughes, Jamel Chisholm and Sammy Gee were replaced at Whitehaven by Jack Holmes, Joe Burke and dual-reg teenager Liam Johnson.
Hughes, Chisholm, Gee and the latest casualty, Danny Langtree, were in for treatment on Tuesday and they will be assessed again tonight before Naylor names the players he wants to be involved in the ‘Captain’s Knock’ on Saturday morning.
It’s more likely to be a case of who is available rather than Naylor having to make choices.
* Seat season-ticket holders are reminded they only have until 4pm tomorrow to buy their usual seats for the Warrington Wolves cup-tie a week on Saturday, May 7.
* Roughyeds’ touch-rugby starts again next Wednesday, May 4, this year at Whitebank, not at Oasis Academy. It will run every Wednesday night through the summer, 7pm to 9pm. Cost is £3 per person per night.
Led by the club’s community coach Danny Newall, the touch-rugby initiative will offer prizes which include Oldham RLFC, Super League Grand Final and Challenge Cup final tickets.