PROP Adam Neal, out for nearly four months with a head injury, will be back in the reckoning when Oldham boss Scott Naylor names his provisional 19 for Sunday’s Betfred League 1 game at Hemel Stags (2pm kick-off).
Naylor confirmed after training last night that the former Salford front-rower will be available for his long-awaited comeback after being out of action since April 15.
He was concussed when taking a heavy tackle in the second half of Oldham’s 32-18 win against Keighley Cougars at the Vestacare Stadium.
He’s missed 14 matches — half the season — and its fair to say he’s been badly missed, especially in tight games when the pack needed a cool head and a calming influence.
Kenny Hughes might also be back after several weeks out, given that the only players still on the casualty list are on-loan full-back Luke Hooley (shoulder) and back-row forward Adam Jones, still recovering from a back injury received at work.
Roughyeds will be expected to return to winning ways at Hemel after demolishing the Stags 74-6 at home in mid-May.
Naylor has warned, however, that there will be no room for complacency.
Oldham have lost their last three away games and for this next one they will have to cope with an early start and a long drive to Hertfordshire.
“When we’ve gone down there in the past it’s usually taken us 20 or 30 minutes to get going, so we’ll be talking about the importance of getting a good start.
“We need to get back to something like our form earlier in the season and in terms of the ‘away’ thing it will be a big challenge for us.”
Oldham need to perform well not only to hold on to their play-off spot, but to go into next week’s home game against Whitehaven full of confidence and in buoyant mood.