HAVING played three of their four Betfred League 1 games away from home, Roughyeds are looking forward to the challenge of taking on Hunslet and Keighley Cougars at the Vestacare Stadium in their next two outings.
After that it’s Hull KR in the fifth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and then the long trek to West Cumbria to square up to revitalised Workington Town.
As one of six clubs on four points, Oldham need no reminding of how important it is, even at this early stage of the season, to make home advantage count when Hunslet come to town on Sunday and Keighley follow them seven days later, both games kicking off at 3pm.
In League and Cup, Scott Naylor’s men have won four out of six — five from seven if you count the Law Cup — but they’ve had only one League game at the Vestacare and they were beaten 24-22 by York City Knights in a thrilling game of high-intensity and first-rate entertainment.
Of their three away wins, the best were 14-0 at Whitehaven in the League and 27-6 at Halifax in the fourth round of the Cup, but as far as head coach Naylor is concerned the Cup is on the back-burner for now and his focus is on what happens on the next two Sunday afternoons down Whitebank Road.
Said the Roughyeds’ boss:
“It’s important to consider that not only have we played three away games already, but we’ve played three sides which, pre-season, were predicted to finish in the top four.
“It will be nice to get a couple of back-to-back home games, but we need to win them before we go off to Workington at the end of the month.
“Having lost to York, albeit by two points in a cracking game, and then going down at Bradford, we need to string some wins together.”
Coached by Gary Thornton, and with a huge squad of 31 players, Hunslet could potentially have three former Oldham players in their ranks in utility back Danny Grimshaw, centre/wing Tom Ashton and centre Nathan Chappell, three of their many new signings this year.
Not that 32-year-old Grimshaw is ‘new’ to the South Leeds Stadium; he has had two previous spells there.
They won their first two league games, 28-14 at Hemel and 26-10 at home to North Wales, but lost their next two at Bradford (32-12) and at home to Keighley (38-22) when Chappell, at centre, and Ashton, on the wing, linked up on the left flank.
Playing two games in four days over Easter, they lost at home to Bradford on Easter Monday, 34-10, in a delayed fourth-round Challenge Cup tie played in dreadful conditions.
It was their home defeat by Keighley on Good Friday, however, which brought out the ire in coach Thornton.
He said after the game:
“I’m disgusted and baffled. That was the worst display since I became coach.
“We got off to a great start, then everyone fell in love with themselves. There was some bitching and falling out with each other, which I’m absolutely not having.”
By all accounts, Thornton’s men played much better in the Bradford cup-tie, some pundits suggesting he will have selection headaches ahead of the Oldham game.
ORSA quiz night
ORSA officials hope attendance at their Thursday night quiz in the Vestacare club-house (8pm) will be bolstered because fans will be able to watch the players training at the same venue before going into the quiz.