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Expect changes in the side to play Hemel

SCOTT Naylor will make changes in his Oldham side to face Hemel Stags at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

He’ll have to replace Kieran Gill and Lee Kershaw, whose loan deals are over, but his explanation for bringing in new faces seemed to indicate that changes won’t end at two.

He said:

“Of the side that beat Newcastle last time out there are no injuries and nobody will be dropped. It’s not a question of that. It’s about an entire squad of players. I need to use them.”

Ben Davies, who has still to play this season because of a back problem, and Adam Neal, going through the RFL’s protocol procedure after suffering concussion against Keighley on April 15, are still unavailable.

Dual-reg assistance will be on offer from Salford Red Devils and Naylor will also have 21 of his own players at his disposal plus Wakefield Trinity’s 19-year-old full-back Luke Hooley, who is now on a week-to-week loan agreement.

He will pick from the 17 who beat Newcastle Thunder, minus Gill and Kershaw, plus Kenny Hughes, Kyran Johnson, Steven Nield, Jack Holmes, Danny Rasool, Zack McComb, Ben West and maybe dual-reg personnel.

OLDHAM (from): Bent, Bridge, Briscoe, Crook, Eccleston, Hewitt, Holmes, Hooley, Hughes, Johnson, Jones, Joy, Langtree, McComb, Nelmes, Nield, Owen, Rasool, Reid, Spencer, West, Wilkinson plus dual-reg.

Hemel are joint bottom with West Wales Raiders, having lost 13 games in a row going back to August last year.

In their eight Betfred League 1 outings this season they’ve conceded 338 points at an average of 42 a game.

By comparison, Roughyeds have conceded 120, working out at 15 a game.

Points difference could be crucial in determining final league placings, but Naylor dismisses suggestions that his players will see this game and their next one at West Wales Raiders as an opportunity to significantly improve their for-and-against stats.

Said Scott:

“With one exception we’ve always found Hemel to be difficult opponents. We’ll be expected to win, but we will still have to do a job on them.

“The problem with all this talk of going for big scores is that it can get into the heads of players so that they come up with a performance that isn’t good enough.

“We’ll be looking to carry on with the form we showed against Workington and Newcastle. It’s no good playing well against teams like that and then producing a below-par performance against Hemel.

“The focus is on doing things right and doing them well and if we do that the scoreboard will take care of itself.”

The sides have met six times during Naylor’s years in charge of Roughyeds, who have won four, drawn one and lost one.

They struggled against the Stags in 2014 when they met three times with honours even. Naylor’s men lost 44-32 at Hemel and the two games at what was then Whitebank ended in a 20-20 draw and a 38-10 win for Roughyeds.

They met only once in Oldham’s promotion season of 2015 and that resulted in a 70-6 win for Roughyeds at Hemel.

Neal will be sidelined for at least another two or three weeks because he isn’t allowed to play until he has had another check-up by his specialist.

Fellow front-row man Davies did half a session of training last night for the first time in about 12 weeks.

“It’s a long job for Ben, but it was a break-through for him last night and it’s now a case of seeing how well he progresses in advancing to the stage where he can do a full session with the squad,” said Naylor.

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AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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