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Spencer, Pick in 23-man squad

FORWARDS Jack Spencer and Shaun Pick, who didn’t play at Featherstone, are called up into Matt Diskin’s 23-man Oldham squad for tomorrow’s (Sat) second and final pre-season warm-up clash with Halifax Panthers at Bower Fold, kick-off 4pm.

They replace prop Tyler Dupree, who has an ankle injury, and centre Ben Heaton, once a long-serving Halifax regular, who took a bang to his head at Featherstone and now has to adhere to RFL protocols regarding concussion.

The four who won’t have played in either of the two warm-up games are backs Kyran Johnson, John Hutchings and Cam Leeming, all of whom have injury or fitness problems, plus hooker Matty Wilkinson, who broke a leg in training and has since had surgery.

Squad: Dan Abram, James Barran, Liam Bent, Danny Bridge, Tommy Brierley. Lewis Charnock, Matthew Fletcher, Callum Green, Declan Gregory, Joe Hartley, Dave Hewitt, Ben Holcroft, Ryan Ince, Phil Joy, Liam Kirk, Danny Langtree, Luke Nelmes, Gareth Owen, Shaun Pick, Martyn Reilly, Max Roberts, Jode Sheriffe, Jack Spencer.

The game will be played behind locked doors but fans can watch on Our League. Transmission is free to Oldham’s season-ticket holders, but others can watch for £4.95 if they register today (Fri) or £10 if they leave it until tomorrow.

To register and make the necessary payment click HERE.

Halifax have announced a 21-man squad in which there are eight potential debutants — Amir Bourough, Connor Robinson, Gadwin Springer, Liam Harris, Ben Tibbs, Dan Murray, Nick Rawsthorne and former Oldham centre Zack McComb.

Squad: Grix, Rawthorne, Woodburn-Hall, Saltonstall, Harris, Robinson, Morris, Moore, Murray, Garside, Barber, Fairbank, Larroyer, Springer, Calcott, Connor Davies, McGrath, Curtis Davies, McComb, Bourough, Tibbs.

Coach of the newly-named and branded Panthers is Simon Grix, elder brother of player Scott Grix.

Their assistant coach, Rikki Sheriffe, is a brother of Oldham forward Jode Sheriffe, who doubles up as a member of the coaching and backroom team.

Of the Yorkshire side’s new signings, Springer (27) is a French prop, who was previously at Toronto Wolfpack, but the most interesting inclusion is that of centre McComb, who was a Roughyeds regular in 2018 and 2019.

Over the two seasons, he totalled 26 tries in 42 games, including a crucial second-half touchdown in his last game for the club — the 18-14 Promotion Final win against Newcastle Thunder, which clinched the Roughyeds’ promotion to the Championship.

He was expected to re-sign for Oldham and fans were surprised when it emerged he had joined Sheffield Eagles.

He had one year in South Yorkshire and then realised an ambition to sign for his home-town club Halifax.

Oldham boss Matt Diskin will be looking for a much-improved performance after the heavy defeat at Featherstone in his side’s first run-out for a year.

He said:

“There were some positives at Featherstone, despite the heavy defeat, and with a lot of hard work and some fine tuning they can make a big difference.”

Tackling and general defensive work will have to be stepped up as each of the 23 players who are likely to be involved will be out to impress the boss, ahead of the season’s first competitive game against Barrow Raiders in the Challenge Cup next Saturday, March 20.

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