FANS who only watch home games might get their first glimpse of THREE new faces in the Oldham RL side to take on Championship heavyweights Bradford Bulls at Bower Fold tonight (8pm kick-off).
The line-up won’t be released until later, but coach Scott Naylor has confirmed that Lewis Foster, Craig Briscoe and Jonny Pownall are all available and ‘in the mix’.
Foster (22), a hooker, made his Roughyeds debut in the defeat at Dewsbury Rams last Sunday, having signed late last week on a month’s loan from Leigh Centurions.
Briscoe (25), a grafting second-row man, joined Oldham from Barrow last close season and has been waiting for this red-letter day since January when he suffered a serious knee injury in a pre-season game at his former club.
Pownall (24), who has come with Foster on a similar arrangement, hopes to get his first run tonight, providing a young Oldham back division with expertise and much-required experience. He has scored 60 tries in 92 appearances for Leigh, no mean feat.
Said Naylor: “Jonny is a quality player with loads of experience at this level. It has been a while since he played so we expect him to be a little bit rusty at first.
“With three games in a week, two of them against full-time opposition, I was always going to rotate selection over and above any injuries we might have picked up in our two most recent away games, both of them exceptionally tough.
“It makes sense to share the workload.
“It will be good to be back at Bower Fold after a few weeks playing on away grounds, but it’s going to be very tough and then we’ve got an equally tough one down in London on Sunday.
“All I ask is that we give 100 per cent and let our opponents know they’ve been in a game.”
Steve Roper (calf) and Danny Grimshaw (broken nose), both injured at Dewsbury, miss tonight’s match, but there is a chance that Grimshaw could be fit for weekend and the trip to the capital.
Jack Spencer (shoulder) and Richard Lepori (shoulder) could also be fit by the end of the week.
Oldham (from): Langtree, Chisholm, Palfrey, Briscoe, Clay, Joy, Owen, Ward, Files, Gee, Holmes, Hope, Thompson, Hughes, Middlehurst, Burke, T Spencer, Foster, Pownall plus dual-reg men from Huddersfield.
* St Anne’s and Saddleworth under-10s will play a curtain-raiser (6.30pm) and then escort Oldham’s players as they leave the dressing room and walk on to the pitch.
* There will be a minute’s silence for Ronan Costello (17), a Huddersfield Giants Academy player, who has died in Leeds General Infirmary from injuries received while playing against Salford last weekend. He was a team mate and friend of the young Giants players who have been playing for Roughyeds this season on dual-registration.
*Oldham’s club ‘shop’, selling merchandise for an hour before kick-off, will be set up near main reception and not in its usual spot near the social club.