OLDHAM will be out to avenge their 24-12 Law Cup defeat by Rochdale at Bower Fold in Sunday’s tough-to-call derby at the Crown Oil Arena.
It will be the first of three, and maybe four, Championship clashes featuring these near neighbours, who rarely fail to get both sets of rival fans on the edge of their seats.
While Roughyeds got a day off on Sunday because their game against Dewsbury Rams was postponed due to a waterlogged Bower Fold pitch, Hornets won a 10-9 thriller at Featherstone thanks to a Lewis Palfrey penalty goal three minutes from the end.
The visitors were 9-8 down when man-of-the-match Josh Crowley made a break and got a penalty for interference after the tackle.
Palfrey’s goal gave Rochdale their third win in five Championship matches and it lifted them to fifth place in the table with six points, four more than Scott Naylor’s men, who have a game in hand.
Having played well in three of their four games, while winning only one of them, Oldham will be determined to come out on top in what promises to be a closely-contested contest.
Both teams will start their big-game preparations tonight, with Oldham assessing the fitness of Adam Neal and Danny Grimshaw, neither of whom was in the 17 to play Dewsbury after picking up knocks at Hull KR.
Sunday’s postponement means George Tyson and Richard Lepori are still waiting for their first Championship appearances of the season.
And Tyson now looks likely to make his league bow — his first of the season and his first since he returned to the club after a season at Sheffield Eagles — against the same opponents as those when he was sent off for striking at the end of the Law Cup clash.
Rochdale will check on whether they emerged unscathed from a bruiser at The Big Fellas Stadium and will consider the claims of Ryan Maneely, Chris Riley, Lewis Galbraith and Samir Tahraoui, none of whom played at Featherstone.
Miles Greenwood returned to the side after injury at full-back; there was a debut on the bench for Jay Lobwein; Jack Holmes and Jack Francis were given their first appearances of the season; and Sam Wild, on dual-reg from Warrington, played in the second-row.
Oldham have been struggling for dual-reg support recently because of Huddersfield’s horrendous injury list, but it is too early yet to know what the situation will be this weekend.