Naylor expects to pick from strength

OLDHAM boss Scott Naylor doesn’t anticipate new injury concerns following Monday’s bruising 30-24 win at Rochdale.

His players are back for training tonight, ahead of Sunday’s clash with Toulouse Olympique at Bower Fold (3pm), after being given Tuesday off.

Prop Adam Neal is close to a comeback after nine weeks out with a broken jaw and both he and Danny Grimshaw (groin) will be assessed.

Spirit in the camp is said to be first class after a draw at high-flying Batley and then victory at Rochdale in the Roughyeds’ last two games.

“Confidence is sky high and we’re playing with character,” said Welsh prop Joe Burke, whose two-try performance at the Crown Oil Arena was described by Naylor as “brilliant.”

Newport–born Burke, capped 11 times by his country, hopes to be in the Welsh squad for the autumn World Cup in the southern hemisphere, but his focus just now is on helping to keep Oldham in the Championship for a third season in a row.

“He isn’t the heaviest prop, but he’s got a knack of scoring tries and he hasn’t got a backward step in his body,” added Naylor.

The Roughyeds’ last home win was 14-12 against Toulouse on July 2 when the Frenchmen were without their first-choice halves Jon Ford and Stan Robin.

Frenchman Robin, formerly with Catalan Dragons, has been back for the last few games, but Aussie Ford, Olympique’s shining star, only returned after a long lay-off in Monday’s 32-16 home win against Sheffield.

Both half-backs scored as the French sealed their place at the top of the Shield table with three games still to play and thus earned a home play-off in the semi-final.

Battling against Rochdale and Swinton to stay up, Oldham have more to play for than Toulouse in their penultimate home game.

They’ve cut admission prices by £5 for adults and concessions (under-16s free) so long as everyone fills in a personal information sheet and hands it in at the turnstiles. It asks for name, age, postcode and email address.

Forms can be downloaded from this link and they are available from Whitebank and from 12.30pm on Sunday at the main reception at Bower Fold. Tameside-based fans can get them from Gymetc next to Bower Fold; from the Wetherspoon pub at The Society Rooms in Stalyb ridge and from the Stalybridge branch of Corals.

+ Injury and suspension rules out Rochdale forward Gary Middlehurst for the season, but Lewis Foster and Josh Crowley are expected back for Sunday’s showdown with Swinton at the Crown Oil Arena.



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