OLDHAM RL Club boss Scott Naylor is playing his cards close to his chest, but the indications are that some of the players who missed the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup defeat by Doncaster last Sunday will be back for the league game re-match at the Keepmoat Stadium this weekend.
In confirming, after training on Tuesday night, that there were no new injuries to add to the casualty list, he said:
“We should have a few more people available if we decide to change the team.”
More significantly, perhaps, he revealed that the only players already ruled out are wingers Aaron Jones-Bishop, who needs a knee reconstruction, and Kyran Johnson, who has a broken jaw.
“Everyone else is a possibility,”
By definition that means Zack McComb, Dave Hewitt, Emmerson Whittel, Danny Langtree and Danny Bridge at least have a chance of returning to the side at the Keepmoat on Sunday (5.30pm kick-off).
Oldham have set their sights, their hearts and their club and personal ambitions on winning promotion this year so in that respect the league game will inevitably be considered as the more important of the two.
Doncaster, with the cup win already in the locker, think the same and have even gone public with that.
Said assistant boss Pete Green:
“We want to win both games, obviously, but if we could only win one it would have to be the league game because of the position we find ourselves in.”
Oldham are third in Betfred League 1 on 12 points, while the Dons are in sixth place with eight points.
If Roughyeds avenge their cup defeat, Doncaster will probably drop out of the play-off zone.
“We know it will be a different game because they were without several players, including their two regular second-rowers.
“I think both teams had one eye on next week (Sunday’s league game) and that was reflected in the selections.”
Langtree, one of the Oldham second-rowers who didn’t play in the cup-tie, turned out three times for Doncaster on dual-reg from Hull FC early in the season.
If he plays on Sunday he’ll be a marked man, as will Doncaster centre Connor Bower, the home club’s top try scorer who didn’t play in the cup-tie but is expected to be back for the league game.