Now Holmes goes

Jack Holmes

JACK Holmes has followed Steve Roper to Rochdale Hornets in pursuit of more game time and more career opportunities.

Oldham’s 22-year-old utility back has scored 20 tries in 36 appearances in his two seasons at the club, but he has faded from the scene in recent weeks, having played only once in the last six games.

He has gone to Spotland initially on loan to the end of the season with a view to winning a contract for next season.

Said coach Scott Naylor: “We don’t want to lose players, but the right thing for us to do in Jack’s case was to help him to get a club where he will get more games in order to advance his career.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to let him go. I can’t fault the lad in any shape or form. I felt for him actually because he deserves to be playing and he will get more opportunities at Rochdale. We wish him every success.

“Steve Roper wasn’t happy because he wasn’t playing every week. I hope he gets the opportunity to do that at Rochdale because that’s what he wants.”

Four players, Tom Ashton, Jon Ford, Roper and Holmes, have left Roughyeds in recent weeks, while four have come in on loan — young, full-time professionals Kieran Gill from Castleford Tigers, Lewis Foster (Leigh Centurions) and Sheffield Eagles pair Dave Hewitt and Jack Blagbrough.

Hewitt and Blagbrough are expected to make their Roughyeds debuts at Bradford Bulls on Sunday (3pm kick off) when dual-reg youngsters from Huddersfield Giants will also be available to Naylor.

Gareth Owen (hamstring), Jack Spencer (shoulder) and Gary Middlehurst (broken finger) are out injured.

Oldham (from): Blagbrough, Briscoe, Burke, Chisholm, Clay, Files, Foster, Gee, Gill, Grimshaw, Hewitt, Hope, Hughes, Joy, Langtree, Lepori, Palfrey, Thompson, Ward plus dual-reg players.

Desperate for wins in their final two games of the regular season to climb into the top four, Bulls welcome back forwards Dale Ferguson, Tom Olbison and Epalahame Luaki.

They are expecting another star performance from their new Aussie half-back Dane Chisholm, who excelled on debut in last week’s big win against Whitehaven.

Said coach Rohan Smith: “Oldham have had some great results, so we’re expecting a good, hard battle.”

Last words from Naylor: “Bulls have a lot to play for. They’ll be giving it everything they’ve got. We’ve got to go and do the same.”

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