OLDHAM prop Jode Sheriffe, a hugely-experienced 34-year-old, goes into a Wigan hospital today (Fri) for his long-delayed operation on a knee.
The former Halifax, Featherstone, Bradford Bulls, Keighley Cougars and Dewsbury Rams forward, in whom coach Matt Diskin has a lot of faith, has been waiting for surgery for 16 or 17 months because of Covid restrictions.
“He’s had to be very patient, but he’s getting it over and done with at last.
“The other good news is that it’s not a major operation and his expected time of recovery is only two to three weeks so he should be okay soon so long as everything goes well,”
said Roughyeds' chairman Chris Hamilton.
Sheriffe was one of coach Matt Diskin’s new signings ahead of the 2020 Championship season, but he suffered the knee injury in pre-season training and was told he needed an operation even though it wouldn’t keep him out for too long.
Then came lockdown and as the weeks of relative inactivity turned into months, he joined the coaching staff, while retaining his registration as a player.
By the time this season’s warm-up games were given the go-ahead behind closed doors, Sheriffe was named on an extended bench and actually got on the field for a short time against Featherstone and Halifax to prove to himself and to his fellow coaches that he hadn’t “lost it” as a player.
He clearly hadn’t. He looked comfortable and street-wise in everything he did – and that was even before his long-awaited surgery.
“We should have him back in a few weeks and that’s very good news indeed,”
added the chairman.
Diskin’s 21-man squad for Saturday’s Championship game at Batley Bulldogs, meanwhile, includes utility back Kyran Johnson for the first time this season.
Johnson has been out of the equation because of a back injury, but he’s now back in contention, along with several other threequarters who didn’t play last time out, such as Tommy Brierley, Callum Green and Joe Hartley.
In the forwards, Luke Nelmes is back in the 21 for the first time since he twisted a knee on the opening day of the season against Barrow Raiders in the Betfred Challenge Cup.
Squad: Dan Abram, Liam Bent, Danny Bridge, Tommy Brierley, Lewis Charnock, Tyler Dupree, Matthew Fletcher, Callum Green, Declan Gregory, Joe Hartley, Ben Heaton, Dave Hewitt, Ben Holcroft, Ryan Ince, Kyran Johnson, Danny Langtree, Luke Nelmes, Gareth Owen, Shaun Pick, Max Roberts, Jack Spencer.
Batley, unbeaten at home in Oldham’s last six visits, are without Ben Kaye, Lucas Walshaw and former Roughyeds' forwards Michael Ward and Anthony Bowman, but six new signings are included in their 21-man squad.
They are former Super League backs Keiran Buchanan, Tom Gilmore, Jodie Boughton and Jack Logan; prop Josh Tonks; and former Student World Cup star Elliott Hall, an exciting full-back who will be competing for that job with a player who will need no introduction to Oldham fans - Luke Hooley.
Squad: Jack Blagborough, Jodie Broughton, James Brown, Kieran Buchanan, Johnny Campbell, Toby Everett, Nyle Flynn, Tom Gilmore, Adam Gledhill, Elliott Hall, Luke Hooley, Aiden Ineson, Alastair Leak, Tom Lillycrop, Jack Logan, Dane Manning, Dale Morton, John Sanderson, George Senior, Josh Tonks, Ben White.
Oldham will wear, for the first time, their new blue and white away strip – a throwback to the one used in their 1990 Second Division Premiership win against Hull KR at Old Trafford.