JOHN Kear, the most experienced coach in the Betfred Championship, says Oldham will be “strong and highly motivated” when they clash with his Bradford Bulls at Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm kick-off).
Both teams go into this crucial game after below-par performances in the Coral Challenge Cup last week, Oldham going down heavily at Widnes Vikings and Bulls beating community club Underbank, but only 22-0.
“Our cohesion on attack wasn’t very good,” said Kear, “and we’ll be up against an Oldham side that will be strong and highly motivated.
“I’m sure Matt Diskin will have given some of his players a rocket (after their poor show at Widnes), but we know what we need to do to win and I’m confident we’ll come away with it.”
Stand by for possible Oldham changes following this week’s signing on loan of winger Ryan Ince and the recruitment on dual reg of a winger, Lee Kershaw, who is already a favourite of Roughyeds fans after his efforts for the club in 2018 and 2019.
Also pushing for places will be three others who were unavailable to Diskin in the cup — dual-reg centre Jack Croft and two young loan forwards, Titus Gwaze and Jimmy Beckett.
Kear, meanwhile, has named a 21-man Bulls squad that includes Rhys Evans, who last played for Bradford on Boxing Day before joining Leeds Rhinos.
Kear has now taken him back on loan and looks like throwing him in at the deep end as Bulls come to Bower Fold seeking their first league win of the campaign.
His squad also include two players on dual-reg from Hull FC, Jack Brown and Joe Cator.
Bulls (from): Jack Brown, Joe Brown, Joe Cator, Steve Crossley, Matty Dawson-Jones, Thomas Doyle, Anthony England, Rhys Evans, George Flanagan, Brad Gallagher, Sam Hallas, Billy Jowitt, Liam Kirk, Jordan Lilley, Rowan Milnes, Levy Nzoungou, Ross Oakes, Brandon Pickersgill, Adam Rooks, Ebon Scurr, Dan Waite-Pullen.
A crowd of 3,640 watched Bradford’s last home league game against Featherstone, 700 more than Leigh v York and on a par with Widnes v London Broncos on the same day.
Oldham expect the Bulls to bring a large following to Bower Fold and Roughyeds fans are asked to arrive in good time, as they did against Widnes on the opening day of the season in a match that pulled in a crowd of more than 1,700 — the best at an Oldham league game for several years.
Fans should note that the smart Bower Fold Events Centre, in the facility that used to be an Indian Restaurant, will open at noon and from then until 2.30pm they will have on special offer a pie and a pint for £5.
After the game the official man-of-the-match presentation will take place in the Events Centre.
Fans who went into the Events Centre at the last game we had at Bower Fold a month ago said later how smart it was and how comfortable they were in there.
+ Roughyeds need a volunteer to help with general duties in the hospitality suite at their home games this season at Bower Fold. Ring 07904 898177 if interested.
+ Game-day stewards also needed. Speak to Phil Black, club safety officer, on the above number.