SCOTT Naylor is looking to his Roughyeds to come up with their best performance of the three-game pre-season programme when they meet Keighley Cougars on the Vestacare Stadium’s new artificial pitch tomorrow (Sun, Jan 28), kicking off at 3pm.
Naylor’s men regained the Law Cup with a 28-24 win at Rochdale and then lost 16-6 with a much-changed team at Barrow.
Both games were played on sodden and soggy pitches, in stark contrast to the firm, perfectly flat and well manicured artificial surface on which Naylor’s Oldham and Craig Lingard’s Keighley will go head to head.
Naylor said: “We’ve played on heavy surfaces so far and it will be nice to play on our own pitch because we know it will be perfect and quick.
“Conditions at Barrow forced both teams into a forward battle. The week before that we were decent with ball in hand at Rochdale and we’re looking to be even better again this week.”
Dismissing Cougars boss Lingard’s claims that the pitch will be advantageous to Oldham over the full season, Naylor added: “A few clubs play on plastic now and even more train regularly on artificial surfaces.
“These pitches are not uncommon in rugby any more.”
Lingard had expressed the view that Cougars would be looking to learn about the pitch from this game so they would be better equipped for their return visit in Betfred League 1 later in the season.
Naylor hasn’t yet announced his squad for the match, but Ben Davies has been added to the casualty list with a back problem that might need a scan and there are doubts about Adam Jones, who has gone down with illness.
Danny Langtree suffered similarly last week, but reports from Thursday night’s training session suggested he could be ready in time.
Limited parking is available at Vestacare, but fans looking for street parking are urged to respect local residents by parking responsibly and not blocking drives.
Turnstiles open at 2pm. Fans buying £2 transfer to the stand can sit anywhere at this match apart from seats that are reserved for club officials.