RITCHIE Hawkyard and Gareth Owen, who were doubtful earlier in the week after picking up knocks against Whitehaven, have been cleared to play in Oldham’s first away game of the Betfred League 1 season at North Wales Crusaders on Sunday.
The game kicks off at 2.30pm at the Queensway Stadium in Wrexham.
Like last week, the only players who are not available for selection are Danny Bridge and Paul Crook.
Hawkyard and Owen trained fully last night (Thurs) and put up their hands for Sunday’s game.
Coach Scott Naylor is aware that Crusaders could have a few former Roughyeds players in their ranks, including Kenny Hughes, who was at Oldham for seven years and made more than 100 appearances for the club.
He and Danny Langtree, both from St Helens, have been close friends for years and when ‘Langers’ left to pursue a career in Super League with Hull it was no surprise that Hughes waved farewell too.
Coach Scott Naylor said:
“Crusaders will have a lot more information about us than they would normally. Kenny, for instance, will know what we like to do from the ruck and when close to the line.
“But we’re a different team than last year; a better team.
“The big challenge for us is to put in an 80-minute performance. We haven’t done it so far . We need more consistency. But we have a lot of quality in the side, as I keep saying, and when we do learn to put an 80-minute performance together I can see us winning a lot of games.”
Crusaders followed up the loan signing of young half-back Elliott Jenkins from Rochdale in mid-week by returning to Spotland yesterday for another short-term loan capture in prop Joe Ryan.
Both Jenkins and Ryan have signed initially on month-long deals and both are expected to make their debuts this Sunday.
Commented Crusaders coach Anthony Murray:
“If we can get the fundamentals right I’ll back us against anybody.
“We had it tough at Workington last week (lost 48-18) and Oldham will also be tough opponents, but if we can improve and get the fundamentals right we’ll be fine.”