LONG-SERVING Steve Nield may be back in an Oldham RL jersey on Sunday for the first time since he was seriously injured at Keighley Cougars in a League One game on May 31, 2015.
While sidelined for 19 months he had a knee completely rebuilt and retained an active involvement with his hometown club, although he wasn’t re-signed for the 2016 KP Championship campaign.
In the latter part of the 2015 promotion-winning campaign, at the end of which he won a clubman-of-the-year award, and for the whole of last season he helped out on match days as a member of the bench and backroom team.
Said chairman Chris Hamilton: “Steve always wanted to do his rehab with us and to keep involved with the club and we were, and are, equally keen to help him all we can.”
Nield, 26, has done a full pre-season with the club he has been with since he was 19, and he will be given a shirt in the warm-up games that start on Sunday against Swinton Lions at Heywood Road, Sale (3pm kick-off).
Explained coach Scott Naylor: “Before we can fully determine what level Steve is at after such a long time out of the game (19 months) we need to look at him in action. He will feature in the friendlies and then we will decide what we consider to be in Steve’s best interests; whether he will go out on loan or stay with us.”
Also given a run in the pre-season games, which continue at Barrow on Sunday, January 15 (2pm) and against Rochdale Hornets at Bower Fold for the Law Cup on Sunday, January 22 (3pm), will be young winger Harry Warburton, a trialist from amateurs Folly Lane, who has impressed the Roughyeds’ coaching staff while training with the club for the past few weeks.
Roughyeds need to speak to Castleford Tigers, however, before they know whether on-loan Keiran Gill will be available over the next three weeks.
“The decision is Castleford’s,” said Naylor. “Keiran has had an operation on a hand and injuries like that take a long time to heal properly.
“I need to speak about it to Darryl Powell (Castleford coach). ‘Gilly’ will be available to play for us when ‘Cas’ think it is the right time. He is their player after all.”
Following Bradford Bulls’ shock liquidation, a new Bradford club may start life in the Championship next season on minus 12 points.
The RFL have created a pathway for a ‘new’ Bradford club to start up in the sport’s second tier if owners can be found in time.
Had the Bulls been deducted 12 points at the end of last season they would have still finished 11 points clear of the relegation zone.