WITH the top-two battle at Whitehaven on Sunday followed by six more “toughies” in a nail-biting fight to finish first, Oldham boss Scott Naylor has revealed that he is keen to strengthen his squad before the signing deadline.
Four of the seven fight-to-the-finish games are away from home and five of the teams involved, like Oldham, are scrapping for the Betfred League 1 title and, with it, automatic promotion to the Championship.
Oldham go into battle with this tough programme:
- July 7, Whitehaven away
- July 14, Norh Wales Crusaders home
- August 3 (Saturday), London Skolars away
- August 11, Newcastle Thunder, home
- August 18, Doncaster home
- September 1, Coventry Bears away
- September 8, Hunslet away.
Like Oldham, most of their rivals for end-of-season glory are struggling with injuries and are looking to strengthen.
Currently on the Roughyeds casuaty list are Aaron Jones-Bishop, who won’t play again all season, plus Kyran Johnson, Ritche Hawkyard, Ben Calland, Jack Spencer, Ben Davies, Liam Bent and Anthony Bowman.
Said head coach Naylor:
“I’m trying to sort out some dual-reg additions and bring in more people.
“That doesn’t necessarily restrict me to dual-reg. There are loan men out there and actual signings.
“We have a lot of faith in our own ability and we think we’ll be there or thereabouts at the end of the season if we continue to play well and to the best of our ability,
“We know Whitehaven will be a tough side to beat at home, but North Wales beat them a fortnight ago and if the Crusaders can do it so can we. It will be essential though that we complete our sets when we have the ball and defend well when they have it.
“We have done well against the Cumbrian sides in recent times and there’s no reason why we can’t keep it going.”
He expected Hawkyard to be fit for Sunday but Davies( back) and Bowman (knee) needed scans to get to the bottom of their troubles.
Haven expect their first 1,000 gate of the year.