Back in training tonight

REFRESHED after having Tuesday off, Oldham RL players report back for training tonight (Thurs) to prepare for a crack at Championship leaders Leigh Centurions.

Arguably the best team in the competition, they’ve lost only once in the league all season and make no secret of their avowed intent to win promotion to Super League this year.

In his column in a local paper, chairman Derek Beaumont has backed coach Neil Jukes to march his full-time Centurions into the sport’s elite league even though they haven’t been at their smartest in recent weeks.

Oldham boss Scott Naylor, who lives in Leigh, knows as well as anyone that Roughyeds will have to go at full throttle from start to finish to avenge their 48-18 loss at LSV in the second game of the season when they were still wearing their Championship ‘L’ plates.

The Centurions come to Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm kick-off), unbeaten since their shock defeat at Batley on the opening day of the season, but with widespread speculation that stand-off star Rangi Chase may have played his last game for the club.

There has been no official comment from LSV apart from a brief statement on social media saying the New Zealander is still contracted to the club.

From Oldham’s perspective, Naylor says his squad isn’t of the type to suffer a hangover from the 70-10 Challenge Cup defeat by Warrington.

And he will take comfort from the Roughyeds’ recent home form which, in the league, has produced wins against Batley, Sheffield and Featherstone in the last three outings.

“If we play like we did against Featherstone we won’t be far off,” said Naylor. “The boys gave their all from start to finish and fully deserved their win.

“We showed maturity in our game after going behind 14-12 in the 65th minute and it enabled us to score late on and then to control the game to the final whistle.

“That showed how far we have come in a short period and how we are getting used to the higher demands of Championship rugby.

“We now start the second half of the season and it’s all to play for in our battle to consolidate in this division.”

Early indications after the Warrington game were that everyone had come through okay.

Joe Burke, who was cup-tied, will be back in contention and it’s thought Danny Langtree might be too as well as dual-reg personnel from Huddersfield Giants.

Tickets for the Summer Bash weekend in Blackpool, in which Oldham play Swinton Lions on Sunday, May 29 (3pm), can be bought at Whitebank between 9.30 am and 4pm tomorrow (Friday).

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