SCOTT Naylor is under no illusions about the strength of the side Rochdale Hornets will field at the Vestacare Stadium tomorrow (3pm) when our derby rivals do battle with us for the Law Cup for the first time since 2011 on our home ground.
The Championship side were well below strength when beating amateurs Mayfield 18-12 at Mayfield last Saturday. but they are expected to be as close to full strength as possible for the annual pre-season encounter that has had rival fans on the edge of their seats for the best part of a century.
Danny Bridge, Paul Crook, Danny Grimshaw and Ben Davies are not available for Roughyeds, so the following 19-man squad will be in action:
OLDHAM: Liam Bent, Anthony Bowman, Ben Calland, Jamie Greenwood, Richie Hawkyard, Dave Hewitt, Jack Holmes, Kyran Johnson, Aaron Jones-Bishop, Phil Joy, Lee Kershaw, Scott Law, Harry Maders, Zack McComb, Luke Nelmes, Gareth Owen (capt), Jack Spencer, Emerson Whittel, Matty Wilkinson.
Apart from winger Kershaw and back-row forward Whittel, all the squad figured prominently in the win at Barrow and some of the newcomers have been going on social media to say how much it means to them to win silverware on their home debuts.
— Aaron Jones-Bishop (@aaronraanjones) January 16, 2019
“Both sides will be going flat out to win because this derby means so much to the clubs and to their respective fans.
“Let’s hope the game gets the crowd it deserves and that supporters are treated to a top-class contest. I’m sure they will be.”
Like Roughyeds. Hornets have had a large turnover of players since the end of last season and are also under the wing of a new player-coach in Carl Forster, who had a similar role at Whitehaven last season.
Among his signings for Rochdale is versatile half-back, full-back or hooker Dan Abram, son of former Rochdale and Oldham centre Darren, who was with him at the Recreation Ground in 2018.
His biggest capture without doubt is that of former Super League star Scott Moore, a controversial character and a brilliant player who is expected to be one of the Championship’s shining lights this year.
According to their squad numbers they go into the current campaign with a group of 21:
HORNETS (from) : Dec Kay, Shaun Ainscough, Seta Tala, Ben Morris, Paddy Flynn, Scott Moore, Dan Abram, Ben Moores, Carl Forster, Lee Mitchell, Ellis Gillam, Stuart Howarth, Elliott Jenkins, Dec Grevory, Mike Weldon, Liam Carberry, Ryan Millington, Joe Ryan, Jack Cottington, Callum Wood, Nathan Reidy.