Crook doubt for Bradford crunch game

PAUL Crook, Oldham’s stand-off and goalkicker, is doubtful with a foot injury for Oldham RL Club’s massive game against Bradford Bulls at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

He didn’t resume for the second-half at York last week and he wasn’t able to train on Tuesday night.

“I expect everybody else to be okay, but Crooky’s struggling so he’s got to be doubtful,”

said head coach Scott Naylor.

In the second half at York, and on other occasions when Crook hasn’t been on the field this season, Gareth Owen has moved into the halves.

As for goalkicking, Luke Hooley is a recognised marksman and he enjoys the responsibility and the pressure.

In Crook’s absence, he kicked the one goal Roughyeds scored in a 10-6 defeat against the Betfred League 1 leaders and he will be favourite to get the job again if Crook fails to make it.

Roughyeds’ last home game of the regular season coincides with the club’s biggest and most important challenge.

Bradford need to win to take their title challenge into the last weekend of the campaign (anything less would almost certainly hand automatic promotion to York), while Roughyeds know what’s needed to ensure a play-off spot.

Wins in their final two games against the Bulls and then London Skolars away on Saturday week and they can’t be caught, such is the significance of their vastly superior for-and-against difference over rivals Whitehaven and Hunslet.

A loss on Sunday wouldn’t be decisive, but Scott Naylor’s men would then be banking on both Hunslet and Whitehaven losing at least one of their last two.

Said Naylor:

“It’s not rocket science to work out that we’ll have to be at our best against a side like Bradford, but we believe we can win it.

“We had plenty of belief at York but we ran out of time. Another five minutes and I think we would have won.”

York people, including coach James Ford, were fulsome in their praise of the Roughyeds, whom they agreed were the toughest side seen at Bootham Crescent this season.

Knights fans have since been on social media and forums to wish Naylor’s boys good luck on Sunday and to express the view that a repeat of the York performance would be good enough.

The game will attract the biggest crowd of the season — perhaps the biggest since Roughyeds moved into what was then called Whitebank in 2010.

It isn’t all-ticket, but tickets have been selling fast and seats are nearly all gone.

Standing tickets can be purchased at the Roughyeds office between 10am and 3pm each day up to and including Friday.

Turnstiles will open at 1pm and fans are urged to arrive early to ease congestion.



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