OLDHAM will be warned about the backlash from as many as five Roughyeds old boys when Scott Naylor’s men travel to Wrexham on Sunday (2.30pm) to face North Wales Crusaders in their first away game of the season. Note the time of kick-off.
Dave Eccleston, Matty Reid, Kenny Hughes, Steve Roper and Alex Thompson have all worn Oldham jerseys in the past, Eccleston, Reid and Hughes as recently as last season.
Crusaders are also expected to give a debut at half-back to mid-week loan signing Elliott Jenkins, a 20-year-old Welsh international from Rochdale Hornets.
A product of the youth set-up at St Helens, Jenkins joined Hornets midway through last season but has now been allowed out on loan to Crusaders, initially for one month.
He played for Wales against Scotlnd and Ireland last autumn as the Dragons qualified for the 2021 World Cup.
Said Oldham boss Naylor:
“It’s going to be tough. They’ve recruited well and in their first home game of the season they’ll be out to make an impression in front of their own fans.
“With so many former Oldham players in their side they’ll be looking forward to playing us, but there’s a lot of improvement in us and we have the potential to be a very exciting team and one that’s difficult to beat.”
Full-back Ritchie Hawkyard (ribs) and hooker Gareth Owen (elbow) will be checked out at training on Thursday night after picking up knocks in last Sunday’s 36-12 win against Whithaven.
Matty Wilkinson, who would normally be expected to replace Owen at hooker if the club captain were to fail a fitness test, didn’t train on Tuesday because he was unwell.
Ben Calland has a back problem but the main concerns are about Hawkyard and Owen.
Roughyeds return home to the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday week, March 10, when they entertain amateurs Haydock in the third of the Coral Challenge Cup (3pm kick-off).
Oldham’s junior season-ticket holders get in free and admission for everyone else is slashed to £10 (adults), £8 (concessions) and £2 (under-16s).