SCOTT Turner looks a shoe-in to make his Oldham debut as a replacement for injured Adam Clay in Sunday’s big relegation battle with Workington Town at Bower Fold.
Long-time admirers of the 22-year-old Wiganer, Roughyeds got him from North Wales Crusaders at the third attempt and only three days before the signing deadline.
Persistence paid off when Turner, a winger, triggered a release clause in his Crusaders contract and became a fully-fledged Oldham player on a short-term deal to the end of the season.
He hasn’t played since he suffered a facial injury against Toulouse Olympique six weeks ago, but he got the all-clear when Roughyeds trained on Tuesday night and, as an experienced winger, he would appear to make a strong claim to get his first game in Oldham colours on the right flank.
Nicknamed ‘Salmon’ by the Crusaders faithful (a reference to his renowned leaps to gather-in high kicks), Turner scored 28 tries in 34 games for Crusaders, including 14 in 13 outings this season — an impressive ratio of tries to games.
Since signing, he has revealed that he still felt he owed Crusaders some loyalty when Roughyeds last spoke to his agent, Karl Harrison, but he finally decided to take the plunge after talking with Oldham for the third or fourth time.
“I know how much it will mean to the club to stay in this division,” he said. “I just hope I can help them to achieve their goal and to climb the table a bit with results over the last seven games.”
Prop Jack Spencer, out for weeks with shoulder trouble, has also been passed fit, while coach Scott Naylor remains upbeat about Richard Lepori’s prospects of playing despite a hand injury.
He has had stitches removed from a nasty gash and at training tonight he will have the damaged area padded and protected.
“Hopefully, I think he will be available,” said Naylor.
He will have to find a replacement for suspended prop Michael Ward, but with Spencer fit now and with Joe Burke, Adam Files, Sammy Gee and Craig Briscoe all chomping at the bit, he will have plenty of ammunition with which to load the gun on the bench.
Workington will be minus Karl Olstrum, banned for two games for punching Dave Allen against Whitehaven, and also winger John Patrick, who is out for the season after suffering a serious knee injury in the early part of Town’s 32-30 win at Bower Fold a fortnight ago.
A big decision for coach Phil Veivers is whether to stick with the Forber-Sammut half-back pairing which did untold damage last time or recall Callum Phillips after injury to partner Sammut in the midfield think tank.
Oldham season-ticket holders are reminded that Sunday’s home game and subsequent ones in the Championship Shield Super 8s against Sheffield Eagles on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29 and Whitehaven on Sunday, September 11 are regarded as normal league games so season passes are valid.