CENTRE Zack McComb, Oldham’s top try scorer with 13 so far this season, has made an impassioned plea to fans ahead of Sunday’s Betfred League 1 clash with Keighley Cougars at the Vestacare Stadium, kick-off 3pm.
Speaking on behalf of the entire squad, he urged supporters to stick with the team and keep the faith in the wake of two defeats by Doncaster on successive Sundays, first in the 1895 Cup and then in the league.
Last week’s 31-0 league defeat away from home meant that Roughyeds reached the half-way stage of the league season with six wins from ten games, having lost to Workington and Hunslet at home and Newcastle and Doncaster away.
In fourth place, they’re five points behind leaders Whitehaven, but they’re the only side to have beaten the Cumbrians in Betfred League 1 and they’ve still to go the Recreation Ground on July 7.
“It’s at time like this that we need everyone to get behind us. If the fans turn up in force on Sunday and we, the players, have our heads on I’m sure that together we can do what’s needed to be done.
“There’s still a lot of rugby to be played and our focus is still to get to the top of the table.”
Roughyeds have suffered a setback because young on-loan prop Titus Gwaze has been recalled by injury-hit Wakefield Trinity.
Said coach Scott Naylor:
“Wakefield say they want him back and he’s their player so there’s nothing we can do about that.
“It hits us hard because we’ve only a small squad and we’ve already got a few lads playing with niggles and some out witdh long-term injuries.
“We’ve got dual-reg available from Leigh this weekend, but we need to bring in players who will be with us for the rest of the season.
“Niggles won’t keep lads out but I’m looking to freshen things up and make some changes in the wake of two defeats by Doncaster,
“The lads are eager to get back on the field and put things right .
“I expect a much tougher challenge than the one we had at their place three weeks ago because they’ve got a new head coach in Rhys Lovegrove and they’ve been re-signing players for next season.
“They’ve brought in Phil Larder to oversee things so they’re putting their money where the’re mouth is.
“They’ll come with a lot more energy and enthusiasm than they had three weeks back at their place so we’ll have to be on our mettle.”
Naylor will have available 16 of last week’s 17 (the squad minus Gwaze) plus the lads who didn’t play such as Paul Crook, Phil Joy, Ben Calland, Adam Brook and Jamie Greenwood plus anyone he gets on dul-registration from Leigh.
Fans are reminded that non season-ticket holders who attend the Keighley game this Sunday will be given a voucher entitling them to half-price admission at the next home game against West Wales Raiders on Sunday, June 30.