FRONT-ROW forwards Ben Davies and Luke Nelmes, both sent off against Bradford Bulls, will be free to prop-up Oldham’s pack in Saturday’s must-win Betfred League 1 clash against London Skolars in the capital.
Their disciplinary cases won’t be dealt with until next week which boosts Roughyeds’ prospects in London but potentially threatens the red-card duo’s availability for a possible promotion semi-final shoot-out at Odsal on Sunday week.
To get there, Scott Naylor’s men have to beat Skolars and hope that Whitehaven’s play-off aspirations hit the buffers at York City Knights the next day.
Anything other than that and Roughyeds will fail to qualify, so it’s all to play for in a match that has been switched across the city from the New River Stadium in Tottenham to the West Ealing home of Championship outfit London Broncos.
Oldham’s game will kick-off at 5.30pm as part two of a double header which also features Broncos v Salford Red Devils in the Super 8s Qualifiers, kicking off at 3pm.
These late changes were only announced on Tuesday, mainly because Skolars were afraid their attendance would be severely hit if they were to play at the same time as their capital cousins.
To avoid a clash, a double-header at The Trailfinders Sports Club (Vallis Way, West Ealing, London W13 ODD) was seen as the answer.
Picking the positives out of it, Oldham boss Scott Naylor said:
“It’s a bigger pitch and hopefully the crowd from the first game will stay on to create a better atmosphere.
“Also, it’s a 4G surface which we train on three times a week at the Vestacare and play on every alternate week.
“Skolars are giving up their true home advantage and as the kick-off has been put back from 3pm to 5.30pm we don’t need to be up at the crack of dawn for the drive down there.
“We can leave at a more civilised time and that’s an important factor in terms of match preparation.
“All things considered, we can have no excuses if things go wrong.”
Turning to the threat posed by Skolars, he went on:
“They’re coached by a stand-off who likes to attack, and that’s how they play, especially at home.
“They’re the best of the southern sides in our division and they’re always a tough nut to crack at home.”
He said some players picked up bumps and bruises in the Bradford game, but the only doubt for weekend was Paul Crook, who didn’t play last week because of a foot injury.
He did some training last night under the one-on-one supervision of the physio but a final decision will be made later.