FANS can expect changes in the line-up when Roughyeds play their second home game in a row against Whitehaven at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday (3pm).
In-form Zack McComb (ankle) and hard-working Jack Spencer (knee) picked up knocks in the thrilling 32-28 defeat by Workington Town last week.
They will have fitness checks on Thursday night but whatever the outcome of those, Scott Naylor may opt for some “fresh legs” — his words — in order to take advantage of having a 25-man squad.
Six are available who didn’t play against Workington — forwards Ben Calland, Ben Davies and Jamie Greenwood plus backs Kyran Johnson, Danny Grimshaw and Harry Maders.
Calland, Greenwoood, Johnson and Maders figured in the pre-season games, but neither Grimshaw nor Davies has laced up a pair of boots in earnest since the early part of last Autumn because of injury.
“I’ve got lads queuing up to get a game,” said the Oldham boss, “and the longer they don’t play the tougher it will be for them when opportunity knocks.
“Any changes I make will definitely not be a reflection of the defeat by Town, but merely to use the benefits of having strength in depth within the squad.
“I’ve got lads who need game-time, simple as that, so I might go for some fresh legs on Sunday.”
Naylor and his players are hoping fans will stick with them and again turn up in numbers as they did last week.
It wasn’t a massive crowd (765) but it was the second best at the Vestacare since the the promotion season of 2015 and one that was welcomed by club officials and players like.
“It was a pity we couldn’t get them a first-day win but I am sure this is the best squad I’ve had in my seven years at the club, both in terms of quality and depth.
“This Sunday’s game is even more important to us after last week’s slip because we can’t afford to lose two home games out of two when we’ve only got ten to start with.
“There is no margin for error in a 20-game season.”
After watching the incident on video of the last-gasp disallowed try that cost Oldham the game last week, Naylor has conceded that the referee got it right when ruling that Anthony Bowman was offside when collecting Adam Brook’s kick and crossing the Town line to touch down.
“It was a close thing but I think it was the right call. Had the roles been reversed I would certainly have been shouting for offside.”