OLDHAM RL Club’s most important game for years might see the return from injury of one of the squad’s senior citizenr Danny Grimshaw.
The 30-year-old former Hunslet Hawks back has been out for five weeks nursing a groin injury but he’s back in training with one eye on Sunday’s massive relegation battle against Whitehaven at Bower Fold (3pm).
“He’s feeling a lot better and hoping to be available. He’s targeted this game for his comeback,” said Oldham boss Scott Naylor.
Grimshaw’s last game was the 30-16 home win against Workington Town on August 7.
Sammy Gee filled his right-centre berth against Swinton and Bradford only to suffer a season-ending ankle injury at Odsal.
Enter dual-reg youngster Liam Johnson against Sheffield, to be replaced at Halifax last time out by second-row forward Gary Middlehurst.
If ‘Grimmer’ were available, Middlehurst could return to the forwards. And with doubts about back-row duo Danny Langtree (shin) and Liam Thompson (shoulder) that would bolster a pack that can expect a rugged, physical battle with the Cumbrian side’s robust middle unit.
Latest updates on Langtree and Thompson are encouraging.
Said Naylor: “When we examined them at training last night, both were in better shape than we thought they would be.
“We’ll look at them again nearer the end of the week but they might possibly be okay.”
Full-back Richard Lepori is a definite non-starter. Following his sending off for punching against Sheffield, he entered an ‘Early Guilty Plea’ in response to his grade B charge and was suspended for one game.
Whitehaven fans are being urged to travel to Bower Fold in numbers, fearing that an Oldham win wouldn’t only send ‘Haven down but would plunge the club into an uncertain future.
They expect their big pack to prevail as they did in the astonishing 56-12 win at Dewsbury.
Of the Cumbrian side’s 10 tries, nine were scored by forwards.
Said chairman Tommy Todd: “I’ve not seen such a tremendous forward-driven performance for a long time.
“It was impossible to separate Dave Allen and Carl Forster for the man-of-the-match award. They led by example and the rest followed.”
The game will be refereed by Tom Crashley, who handled Oldham’s 30-8 win at Swinton on August 14 and Sheffield’s 54-24 win at Bower Fold a fortnight ago.