Thumbs-up at Oldham as injuries clear

WITH a bit of luck 22 of Oldham’s 23 contracted players will be available for selection this weekend, plus on-loan Luke Hooley and Lee Kershaw from Wakefield Trinity and dual-reg personnel from Leigh Centurions.

“If everything goes according to plan and expectations I should have a lot of lads to choose from for the first time for a while,”

said an upbeat head coach Scott Naylor.

For more than a month he’s been battling against an injury pile-up, but all his casualties with one exception seem to be coming good at the same time.

The only player who still won’t be ready for Sunday’s visit of in-form North Wales Crusaders to the Vestacare Stadium (3pm kick-off) is prop Adam Neal, whose recovery from concussion is taking a long time. He is. however, making good progress and is expected to be back within the next few weeks.

Everyone else in the squad will be training fully tomorrow (Thursday) night and even Neal will be doing some of it.

That means Danny Langtree and Kenny Hughes will be available for the first time in several weeks plus several more who have been out for shorter periods, including Matt Reid, Matty Wilkinson and Kyran Johnson.

Naylor added:

“The overall picture is looking a lot better. I haven’t yet spoken with Leigh about dual-reg this week but I’m hopeful we’ll be okay. The same applies to the on-loan boys. As far as I know they came through the Keighley game last Friday unscathed and I’ve heard nothing to the contrary.”

Naylor says the Crusaders’ hugely-improved performances in recent weeks will be down to the return to the club of Anthony Murray as head coach after a spell away.

“His knowledge, experience and coaching skills will have made a vast difference,” said the Roughyeds boss.

“They are playing a lot better than when we won there early in the season and they’ll come full of confidence and ready for the challenge after strong performances in their last three games.”

Hunslet won 19-18 in Wrexham with a late drop goal that was heavily disputed by the Crusaders.

Whitehaven beat them, but only by eight points, and Crusaders then went to Newcastle Thunder where they won 24-20 last Sunday.

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