SOCCER legend Alan Shearer, now a top TV pundit and a Geordie sporting icon, has put his weight behind Newcastle Thunder’s bid to win promotion to the Betfred Championship at Oldham’s expense.
At the most there’ll be only two Geordies in the Thunder squad when they take on Roughyeds at the Vestacare Stadium tomorrow (Sunday) in a winner-takes-all promotion showdown, but Shearer is rooting for the club that’s adopted the Newcastle name and is building a future for rugby league in the North-East.
The former England centre-forward has gone public in wishing Thunder all the best at Oldham, saying:
“Good luck. You’re only 80 minutes from the Championship. All the best guys.”
Another Newcastle United old-timer, ex-goalkeeper Steve Harper, messaged:
“You’ve had two close games already with Oldham this season but hopefully you can come through.”
Lee Crooks has also pinned his colours to the Thunder mast, saying:
“Eighty minutes of hard work, self-believe and confidence stand between you and promotion. “Get the job done and continue the development of rugby league in the North-East.”
Thunder know they’ll have to be at their best, though, to topple an Oldham side that’s won ten of its last 11 games and hasn’t been beaten in a league match at home since last Easter.
Free-scoring Kieran Gill, Betfred League 1’s top try scorer, is Thunder’s left-edge superstar who was once a pin-up boy of the Roughyeds faithful while on loan here from Castleford Tigers.
“Oldham are a great club. I played two seasons there and they have a great culture.
“It’s going to be tough but if we can come oudt shining like we did against Doncaster w4 can out any team in this division to the sword.
“It’s a tough place to go and we know what they’re going to throw at us but we’ve trained hard this week and we’ll be ready.”
Oldham will be too as you can tell from these observations:
“As a group we’ve got a huge opportunity to make a bit of Oldham history. If 1 to 17 play at 100 per cent we’ll win ! They’ve got talented players but we’ve got a plan to close them down.”
“This will be my fourth final. They’re the games all players want to be in and we’re confident in our ability to win.”
“The build-up so far has been low-key and that’s good. They’ve quality players, but so have we.”
“It’s going to be a close call. Newcastle are a well-drilled outfit, but we are quietly confident, having played superbly well over the last three months.”
Kyran Johnson: “If we play like we can we are confident of winning.”