WHITEHAVEN will be making late decisions on the fitness of three key players ahead of today’s crunch Betfred League 1 clash at Oldham.
Hooker Stuart Howarth, Papua New Guinea star Dion Aiye and half-back Dan Abram, described by player-coach Carl Forster as ‘the little magician‘, will all be assessed as late as possible.
Former Workington Town hooker Howarth sustained a hairline fracture of an arm at Bradford last Saturday, but has stressed all week that he wants to play in the ‘must win’ game at the Vestacare Stadium.
Aiye has been out with a bicep injury but is said to be “close to playing again“.
Warrington-based Abram, formerly of St Helens and Barrow, will be having an injection in a problem ankle before kick-off.
“Lewis Brown is okay again after a shoulder injury and I’m hoping the other three will be in the squad.
“Dion (Aiye) has trained for the last few sessions and Stuart (Howarth) has said all along that he’ll play despite his injury.
“Dan (Abram) will have an injection and we’ll make late decisions on all three.”
He confirmed that amateur signings Jordan Thomson and Jordan Herve, who made debuts at Bradford, will be in his 19-man squad.
Oldham, who won 14-0 at Whitehaven on the opening day of the season, will pick from these:
Bent, Briscoe, Crook, Davies, Eccleston, Hewitt, Holmes, Johnson, Joy, Kershaw, Langtree, McComb, Neal, Nelmes, Owen, Rasool, Reid, Spencer, Wilkinson.
Paul Crook and Ben Davies are former Whitehaven players.
This time last year half-back Crook was playing crucial games for the Cumbrians, whose promotion bid ended with a narrow defeat at Barrow in the Promotion Final.
With ten goals and two tries at Hemel last week (28 points), Crook passed 2,000 career points.
It was a big day too for prop Adam Neal, who returned to rugby after nearly four months out with concussion.
Oldham are asking fans to rally round and turn up in numbers for a match which could turn out to be one of the most important games of the year for both clubs in terms of play-off qualification.
The match kicks off at 3pm and turnstiles open at 2pm.