INJURY-HIT Oldham RL Club have suffered a new setback ahead of Sunday’s big game against Championship leaders Leigh Centurions at Bower Fold (3pm kick-off).
Full-back Richard Lepori , the club’s only ever-present after 14 games in league and cup, is ruled out of this one by a damaged shoulder.
He was taken off near the end of last Saturday’s cup-tie against Warrington Wolves when Danny Grimshaw moved from centre to full-back and Tom Ashton joined the threequarters off the bench.
“He’s got something wrong with the AC (acromio-clavicular) joint,” said coach Scott Naylor. “We’ll have a better idea of what’s involved and how long he will be out when he has seen a specialist in the next few days, but he certainly won’t be available to play against Leigh.”
Naylor wouldn’t be drawn on how he intends to fill the key full-back role, but Lewis Palfrey played there a lot for Whitehaven earlier in his career and, more recently, Sammy Gee and Jack Holmes have both had decent runs in that most isolated of positions where only the bravest survive.
Grimshaw and even hooker Gareth Owen have been used there for short spells in an emergency, but its feasible to think that Naylor will opt for Palfrey, Holmes or Gee.
On a brighter note, Naylor confirmed after last night’s training session that Danny Langtree is up for selection again after damaging an ankle at Whitehaven and missing the games against Featherstone and Warrington .
Joe Burke, ineligible to play for Oldham in the Cup, is back in the selection mix, alongside players from Huddersfield Giants on dual-registration.
The Roughyeds boss won’t discuss which dual-reg players he will have until he has first informed the squad at training tomorrow morning.
The net result of having Langtee and Burke back, plus the use of two or three young Giants, adds up to a much stronger and more formidable side.
Added Naylor: “Leigh are the nearest thing you can get to a Super League club outside the elite division.
“They spend more money on players than anybody else in our division by a country mile.
“It’s sobering to note that by the time we’ve played Leigh, our last six games will have included two against Super League clubs, two against other full-time teams, plus Whitehaven away and Featherstone at home.
“That’s a tall order by any standards, but if nothing else it mean we should be battle-hardened to take on the best team at our level.”
Oldham (from): Clay, Holmes, Grimshaw, Chisholm, Palfrey, Roper, Joy, Owen, Ward, Middlehurst, Thompson, Hope, Files, Hughes, Gee, Ashton, Langtree, Burke, plus dual-reg players from Huddersfield.
* Fans should note that Sunday will be the last chance they have to buy Summer Bash tickets at Bower Fold on game day. They will be on sale from the ticket office near the social club. They will also be available at Whitebank until 4pm today.