PROP Ben Davies will be in the running to play his first game of the season when Oldham RLFC travel to bottom-of-the-table West Wales Raiders in Llanelli on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Davies (28) made 20 senior appearances with Roughyeds in 2017 — his first season after signing from Whitehaven — but he started having back problems in pre-season training early this year.
Injections were considered and rejected before the final decision was taken to rely on rehabilitation.
“Salford Red Devils have been helping him with his rehab and he’s now training fully with our squad so he’ll be available for weekend,” said delighted coach Scott Naylor.
Given that Davies has yet to make his 2018 bow, Naylor will feel as though he has an extra forward.
More good news for the Roughyeds boss is the loan retention, on a week-to-basis, of Wakefield Trinity’s young full-back Luke Hooley.
Paper work for the first week of this new arrangement has been concluded so the 19-year-old will be available for the long coach trip to Llanelli, with its early-morning start from the Vestacare Stadium.
The initial agreement with Trinity allowed for Hooley to stay here for one month and in that time he played in four games, one of them a Challenge Cup defeat by Hull KR but the other three all producing league wins against Keighley and Newcastle at home and Workington away, where he scored aglorious solo try.
Full of praise for the youngster’s contribution, Naylor said:
“It’s good news that we can keep him, even though it’s only on a week-to-week arrangement from now on.
“It’s just what we need to put pressure on players. It will keep all the back line on their toes, for instance.
“Luke has played really well over the past month. He’s been coming to us on and off for a couple of years so we know what he is capable of.
“He did exactly the job I wanted him to do. Positionally, he was spot-on in defence and he also linked up well with the attack.”
Roughyeds came through the Hemel game without injuries, so there’s now only one man on the casualty list and that’s prop Adam Neal, who is striving to beat concussion and to follow RFL protocol guidelines for players with that type of injury.