SCOTT Naylor expects to have all his contracted players available for Sunday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fourth-round tie at Halifax apart from Adam Jones and Ben Davies.
Jones is still out after being concussed in the previous round’s defeat of Featherstone Lions and Davies is sidelined with a long-standing back problem.
There will be no dual-reg reinforcements from Salford as that would prevent the players concerned from appearing in the Challenge Cup with the Red Devils in subsequent rounds.
Naylor will therefore have 22 of his own players from which to select his 17 to play at the MBi Shay Stadium (3pm) so long as prop Phil Joy passes a head test after a clash of heads with Colton Roche in last week’s fabulous game against York City Knights.
The Roughyeds boss will pick from these, including club captain Gareth Owen, who hasn’t played since last summer after suffering a freak injury to a foot:
Bent, Bridge, Briscoe, Crook, Eccleston, Hewitt, Holmes, Hughes, Johnson, Joy, Langtree, Martin, McComb, Neal, Nelmes, Nield, Owen, Rasool, Reid, Spencer, West, Wilkinson.
Luke Nelmes and Matty Wilkinson have played previously for Halifax, while Ben West, Joe Martin and Zack McComb are all Halifax lads, who played for community club Siddal last season and have since been signed by Oldham after trials.
“We know it’s going to be tough at Halifax, who last week put 38 points past the full-time men of Leigh Centurions.
“They looked very good with the ball and they’ve got a lot of experience with men like Scott Murrell at half-back and Steve Tyrer in the centre.
“The Shay is a ground where we usually put up a good show. Fax are a good Championship side and we know it’s going to be another really hard game, but we’re not going over there surrounded by massive fright.
“The pressure is on them. They’re a Championship side and they’re at home so they’re expected to win. In that regard, we’ve nothing to lose.”
Fax have won three of their five Championship games so far; 30-10 against Sheffield Eagles at home, 38-18 against Leigh at home and 26-20 at Rochdale.
They’ve lost 20-4 at Featherstone and 20-6 at home to Toronto Wolfpack.
Fans can get their tickets at the best prices from the Vestacare Stadium between 10am and 3pm today (Fri), but that’s the cut-off point for ‘over the counter’ sales at Oldham. You can then get them online at the best prices until Saturday night.