OLDHAM go into Summer Bash week buoyed by yesterday’s KP Championship results, but holding their breath on Richard Lepori’s shoulder injury.
Defeats for Dewsbury Rams, Whitehaven, Swinton Lions and Workington Town, to go with Sheffield’s loss at home to Bradford Bulls on Saturday, have opened up a significant gap half way down the division.
Sheffield, Dewsbury, Swinton, Oldham and the Cumbrian clubs head for Blackpool this weekend knowing they’ll all be scrapping to avoid relegation over the second half of the season.
Workington are marooned at the bottom with four points. Then come Whitehaven and Oldham with eight and Swinton, Dewsbury and Sheffield with ten — five clubs split by two points, but Oldham with a game in hand and boasting the best for-and-against record in the bottom four.
A lot will be riding on their clash with derby rivals Swinton at Bloomfield Road on Sunday (3pm) and it’s highly unlikely that full-back Lepori will be playing.
He has missed two matches since damaging a shoulder in the Warrington cup-tie and the full extent of the injury still isn’t known.
Said coach Scott Naylor: “An x-ray has shown that the shoulder isn’t broken — positive news in itself — but it didn’t shed any light on the cause of the problem.
“We need to investigate further. It’s more than two weeks since Richard was injured and he’s no better now than when he did it. Until we know the cause, and what needs to be done, we won’t know how long he is likely to be out.
“It could be a week, or a lot longer. We just don’t know. AC joints can be funny things to repair. And we’ve now learned he had an operation on his other shoulder when he was a lot younger.”
There’s better news on new-boy Craig Briscoe, who will resume full training this week, including contact work, for the first time since he was injured at Barrow, his former club, in a pre-season game.
Tom Ashton and Jack Spencer will also be back soon, but Jon Ford (knee) will be a while longer.
With record Magic Weekend crowds in Newcastle and a belief among RFL officials that Summer Bash could be a similar success story next weekend, KP Championship clubs, including Oldham, are now selling tickets for reserved seats up to and including Wednesday and for unreserved seats up to Friday.
Oldham are urging fans to buy from Whitebank because a club’s income from Summer Bash is provided by the tickets they sell locally.
Each club contributes to the cost of staging the big, two-day event and ticket sales to their own fans (half price for season-ticket holders) is how that money can be recouped.
The office at Whitebank (inside the ground) will be open for ticket sales from 9.30am each day this week — to 1.30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; to 3pm on Wednesday (cut off for reserved seats) and to 4pm on Friday.