Big Match Preview
MICHAEL Ward says Roughyeds will need no motivation in pursuit of their first win against Rochdale in four meetings this season.
“It’s a crucial game for us — and it’s time we beat them,” said the explosive prop ahead of Sunday’s showdown at Bower Fold.
He added: “There’s things we need to put right in these derbies. In the last two we’ve been the better side for long periods, but the games have then gone away from us.
“This time we’ve got to put in an 80-minute performance and if we do I see no reason why we can’t win.
“We could get a couple of players back after injury but whether we do or we don’t it’s all about us and how we perform.
“We’re at home with the crowd behind us and if we go for 80 minutes we’ll be okay.”
George Tyson will be aiming to score for the fourth game in a row; Danny Langtree needs one more try for 50; Sammy Gee, in his 100th game for Roughyeds, will want to make his milestone match a memorable one.
With several former Oldham players in their ranks, Hornets won the pre-season Law Cup clash at Bower Fold.
The first of the season’s Championship derbies ended 26-all at Rochdale before the old enemy had the last laugh again with a 38-28 Summer Bash win at Blackpool.
Oldham have two chances to get their own back — at Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm) and in a Championship Shield game, date and venue still unknown.
These fourth and fifth derby-day humdingers will carry the added sting of directly influencing each club’s prospects of beating the drop.
With two to go down, Bradford, Swinton, Oldham, Rochdale and Dewsbury are in the firing line although Dewsbury’s current form would suggest otherwise.
Ward is a rarity — a prop who regularly scores tries and loves to get over the line.
His eight last season placed him joint fourth behind Jamel Chisholm (10), Adam Clay and Kenny Hughes each with nine.
This year he shares the lead with Richard Lepori on eight, one more than Clay and Tyson, who is in blistering form and threatening to finish top.
“I’ve got my sights on that too,” said Ward. “I’d like to beat the ten I scored in 2015, but it doesn’t matter who scores, as long as somebody does. That’s the important thing.
“We need league points urgently and we’ve got to get back to winning ways, starting Sunday.
“A win against Rochdale would give the whole club a lift and take us into the Shield games on a high. Nobody knows that better than the lads in the dressing room.”
Man in charge of what promises to be a typically tense derby battle will be the hugely-experienced Gareth Hewer, who refereed last year’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final between Hull and Warrington at Wembley.