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Hutchings set for cup-tie return

OLDHAM new boy John Hutchings, who pulled a hamstring in the Law Cup game at Rochdale on January 12, is expected to return to action in Sunday’s Coral Challenge Cup fourth-round tie at Widnes Vikings (3pm kick off).

He was named on the bench at Toulouse Olympique, but he didn’t go on the field and he didn’t figure either in the 17 who were on duty in last Sunday’s 16-14 Championship win at Whitehaven.

Coach Matt Diskin is clearly not prepared to take a chance on the 20-year-old former St Helens youngster, who hasn’t played for six weeks and whom Diskin wants to make sure is 100 per cent ready before throwing him into the firing line again.

Said the Oldham boss:

“John trained normally this week and we have to wait until Saturday now to make sure he hasn’t had an adverse reaction. It’s a case of fingers crossed but we’re very hopeful he’ll be okay for weekend.”

Signed as a centre or wide-running second-rower, Hutchings came off the bench in the first pre-season game at Barrow on January 5 and did a great job up front in his first-ever run-out as one of the “middles”.

Diskin later praised his performance in a role to which he was totally unaccustomed.

He was switched to his more familiar role as a centre at Rochdale seven days later but he pulled up suddenly when chasing a kick, and he hasn’t played since.

Like many other clubs in the Championship and League 1, Oldham don’t have the luxury of a reserve team these days and long-term injury victims, such as Hutchings, Ed Smith, Ben Davies and Jode Sheriffe, have to make their comebacks in the first team.

Smith, Davies and Sheriffe, who is waiting for surgery on a knee injury, are still some time off, but Hutchings will be ready to return at Widnes if head physio Chris Melling and his medical team are satisfied that he is fully ready to go again.

James Worthington, another young centre who is in his first season at Roughyeds, will be tested on a pulled groin that kept him out of the Toulouse and Whitehaven games, but he is still struggling a bit and his chances are not as good as those of Hutchings.

Roughyeds were minus recognised centres at Toulouse, where Kyran Johnson and Dan Abram filled-in, but they were stronger in Cumbria where Johnson (wing) and Abram (full-back) returned to their normal positions and were replaced by Cam Leeming. playing his first game for seven weeks after injury, and by new dual-reg teenager Jack Croft from Wakefield Trinity.

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Club Cash

AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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