OLDHAM captain Gareth Owen, out since last summer with a serious foot injury, might make his comeback in Sunday’s fourth round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie at Halifax (3pm).
“It’s just a matter of his general fitness now, but he’s training fully and he could be available,” said head coach Scott Naylor.
Hooker Owen missed the last 12 games of the 2017 campaign after needing surgery to correct damage caused by a freak injury.
Naylor will also be waiting on prop Phil Joy, who staggered off the field near the end of the York City Knights game after a sickening clash of heads with Colton Roche.
He could do only light training on Tuesday night as part of the RFL’s back-to-play protocol covering players who have suffered head knocks.
He will be carefully monitored during the week and will then undergo a head test on Saturday.
Craig Briscoe (knee) and Danny Bridge (dead leg) are expected to be fit, but Adam Jones is definitely out again because of concussion although he should be okay for the North Wales Crusaders game on March 25.
Ben Davies (back) is still out, but Naylor is hoping that by weekend he will have 22 of his 24 contracted players available, Davies and Jones being the only exceptions.
Joy will have to pass his head test and prove his fitness though.
“The protocol for players with head knocks is a good one. It wasn’t around when I was playing and I do think a lot of concussions can affect you in later life.
“It’s important that everything is done in the right way. Players need to understand its importance too. They must be looked after in the right way.”
Halifax props Adam Tangata and Harry Kidd are long-term injury victims, but Fax think highly of their on-loan front-rower Dan Murray from Salford Red Devils.
Richard Marshall, the Yorkshire side’s coach, thinks the 22-year-old former Warrington junior is already a Super League player.
He played seven top-flight games for Salford last year plus six games for Halifax and he has been in great form in the Championship for Fax this year.
Marshall told Gareth Walker (League Express):
“Dan’s good for us. He’s fitted in well and is completely part of the group.
“Dan wants to play Super League and I think he deserves to be there. We’re fortunate to have him, but he knows he’s got to work hard here and enjoy what he’s doing here to get his chance.”
Murray, a Wigan boy, is another product of the Salford youth system, having been reared at the Red Devils alongside Ryan Lannon, who has played two games for the Roughyeds on dual-reg.
Halifax have won three of their five Championship games so far and are sitting comfortably just outside the top four.
Fans are reminded that they can make substantial savings on tickets for this tie at the MBi Shay Stadium if they buy up front, either online or at the Roughyeds office in the Vestacare Stadium between 10am and 3pm each day this week up to and including Friday.