OLDHAM RL boss Scott Naylor is calling on his players to remain cool, calm and collected as the Betfred League 1 promotion race turns into its final furlong.
Excited Roughyeds fans are making a big thing of the fact that if leaders Whitehaven slip to their third defeat in a row at London Skolars on Saturday, Naylor’s men will go into their clash with bottom-of-the-table West Wales Raiders at the Vestacare Stadium 24 hours later knowing a win will shoot them to top spot for the first time this year.
Oldham are close to hitting the front in a seven-horse race. having come through on the inside with a 26-16 win at Workington while, five miles down the Cumbrian coast, Whitehaven crashed to a last-gasp 24-22 defeat by rank outsiders North Wales Crusaders.
Once five points in front, ‘Haven are now clinging to a one-point lead over Hunslet, who don’t play this weekend, and Oldham, who are chasing their sixth win in their last seven league outings.
Opponents West Wales Raiders have done very little raiding this season, having lost all 12 league games and having conceded an average of 52 points a game. When Oldham played them in Llanelli in April they won 72-8.
“Everybody expects us to win and to pile on a few points. Sooner or later somebody is going to come unstuck against them and we don’t want that ‘someone’ to be us.
“With that in mind we’ll be preparing and playing exactly like we’ve done for every other game this year.
“Results went our way last weekend but they’re not always going to and we can’t rely on the likes of North Wales doing us favours every week,
“It’s all down to us, not others, and we’ve got to keep a winning run going, all the time remaining calm and cool , forgetting what others are doing and realising that so long as we keep winning we can’t do any more.
“Even if we go top this weekend there will still be seven games to go before we hit the play-offs and that’s a lot of rugby in which anything can happen.”
All under-16s go free to Sunday’s game and adults who attended the last home game against Keighley Cougars got a half-price voucher for this game.
Roughyeds had a light training run-out on Tuesday night but will be back at full throttle by Thursday.
Several players are under treatment after a bruising battle at Workington, including Jack Spencer (finger), Ritchie Hawkyard (calf), Anthony Bowman (knee) and Ben Davies (calf).
On a brighter note, Kyran Johnson started light training this week after suffering a broken jaw at Keighley on May 25, but it will be at least two more weeks before he can go into contact.
“Jack Spencer might have to see a plastic surgeon and Anthony Bowman will need a scan, but both will be back as soon as possible.”