THE best wishes of Oldham fans will be with Craig Briscoe when the Roughyeds’ forward goes into battle against his former Barrow team mates in Sunday’s pre-season friendly at the J F Hornby Stadium (Craven Park), kick-off 2pm.
Second-row forward Briscoe missed only two games all season for Barrow in 2015 and then became an early target for Scott Naylor, who was building a squad for promoted Oldham’s first season at Championship level.
The year began with a friendly at Barrow where, early in the game, Briscoe suffered a serious knee injury which restricted him to seven games in two seasons at Oldham and none in 2017 when he was in rehab after major surgery.
On the threshold of a new beginning, he came through his first big test in last week’s Law Cup win at Rochdale, but he now has to do it all over again on the ground he knows so well and where he was stuck down by injury two years ago.
Like Oldham, the Raiders also got their pre-season programme off to a good start with a 46-20 home win against Keighley Cougars, who Roughyeds play at the Vestacare Stadium in their third warm-up run on Sunday week, January 28 (3pm).
Alec Susino, a young Aussie, made his Barrow debut against the Cougars and he is likely to be joined on Sunday by his fellow Aussie and fellow Italian international Dean Parata.
They have played in NRL feeder teams in and around Sydney and newly-promoted Barrow believe they will be useful additions to a squad that is getting ready for life in the newly-named Betfred Championship.
Their other new signings include forwards Jono Smith, from Rochdale, and Glenn Riley from Whitehaven, while the squad also features former Oldham half-back Jamie Dallimore and long-established Craven Park favourites Joe Bullock, Nathan Mossop, Jarrad Stack and new skipper Martin Aspinwall in a tough, experienced pack.
Oldham fans making the trip should note the 2pm kick-off time. Admission prices are £10 adults, £7 concessions, £3 under-16s.