STILL unbeaten at home in cup and league this season, Oldham RL Club are aiming to keep up the good work at Bower Fold and turn the Stalybridge Celtic football ground into a fortress, says Roughyeds captain Gareth Owen.
So far at The Fold, they’ve beaten Barrow Raiders in the Betfred Challenge Cup and derby rivals Swinton Lions in the Betfred Championship.
Away from home, they’ve lost at Swinton in the Cup and at Batley Bulldogs and London Broncos in the league, but they look a different side on home soil and that theory will be put to the test when Halifax Panthers visit Tameside, with a 12.45pm kick-off for live streaming on Our League.
Owen said he and the players were embarrassed after the loss at Batley when coach Matt Diskin questioned their attitude.
He felt that, even in defeat, there was a big improvement in London and it was the squad’s intention to build on that against Halifax.
“We’ve two consecutive home games now against Halifax and Whitehaven and an opportunity to give Bower Fold a reputation for being a tough place to come for any opposition,” added the Roughyeds captain.
Oldham, who have been hit by an injury pile-up in recent weeks, hope to be strengthened in the forwards by the return of Martyn Reilly and Liam Kirk and in the backs by Ryan Ince and the on-loan signing of highly-rated Wakefield Trinity youngster Jack Croft.
Aged only 20, Croft has already played in eight Super League games.
Another youngster looking for Championship experience with Oldham is 19-year-old prop Jack Bibby from Wigan Warriors, who scored on his debut in London and is again included in the 21-man squad, from which Diskin will name his 17.
Halifax, who will be without star full-back Scott Grix (hamstring), will be stronger than when they won 30-18 in a pre-season friendly at Bower Fold, with the inclusion of Greg Worthington, Ben Kavanagh, Adam Tangata and Sam Hewitt.
Half-backs Liam Harris and Connor Robinson ran the show last time, with Harris causing Oldham all sorts of problems with his clever kicking game.
Harris, Martyn Ridyard at Swinton in the Cup and Jarrod Sammut for Broncos down in London, all bossed games against Oldham from stand-off half.
Much will depend on how Roughyeds handle Harris — and how the Oldham forwards cope with the Fax pack. If they hold their own, or better, Harris won’t have the opportunities to bring his silky skills into play.
You can watch the action on Our League for £4.95 if purchased before midnight tonight or £10 if you wait until game day,