OLDHAM and Dewsbury Rams, fellow strugglers in the Betfred Championship, both regard Sunday’s showdown at Bower Fold (3pm) as a ‘must win’ game.
Coach Lee Greenwood, a former Oldham player, brings his depleted Rams to Stalybridge, having won only once in the last seven outings — and that was a narrow 20-18 win at bottom-club Swinton Lions on May 17.
Roughyeds, who admit to being in a rut, haven’t won since May 1, when they beat Halifax Panthers 16-12, and have lost six in a row. Only Swinton are below them in the table and the Rams are not much higher.
While Oldham have won two of their ten games, Dewsbury have won three out of nine.
Both have been bedevilled by injuries and rival coaches Greenwood and Matt Diskin will both pick their teams for weekend without suspended players.
Oldham’s Danny Bridge has to sit out one game after being suspended for ‘foul and abusive’ language to the referee in the last home game against Sheffield Eagles.
Dewsbury will be minus two suspended forwards — prop Dan Hawksworth and second-row man Tom Garratt, one of the Rams’ best forwards in last Sunday’s heavy defeat by Featherstone Rovers.
In a bid to bolster his depleted squad, Greenwood has recruited hooker or half-back Dom Speakman for his third spell with the Rams and has brought in on loan a young Academy forward from Huddersfield Giants, Robson Stevens.
He will continue to work towards more recruitment in time for the trip to Bower Fold.
“We’re doing it tough at present, but so are a lot of clubs. I’m not the only coach with injury worries.”
Oldham’s Diskin, a Dewsbury man who lives in the Heavy Woollen town, as does his No 2 Brendan Sheridan, will concur with that.
His latest injury victims, scrum-half Dave Hewitt (ribs) and forward Jack Spencer (back), are responding well to treatment, but it isn’t known yet whether they will be ready for the Dewsbury game.
Rams are short in the front-row, where Oldham have also been unlucky, especially concerning Phil Joy who has played only two games this season so far and now faces another lengthy absence since fracturing an elbow at Newcastle last time out.
While Oldham will miss Joy, Rams will miss the banned Hawksworth and, ironically, Roughyeds will be looking to a couple of former Rams front-rowers, Martyn Reilly and Luke Nelmes, to put them on the front foot against their former employers.
In the corresponding game last year — the last before the season was curtailed because of Covid — Reilly and Nelmes starred for Dewsbury in their 24-6 win.
They later signed for Oldham as Diskin went all out to toughen-up his “middles”.
Sunday’s showdown will be a special game for Reilly, Nelmes and a third ex-Ram in winger Tommy Brierley — and they, more than anyone, are well aware of the ‘must win’ factor.
DUE to current Covid regulations, the ONLY way fans can watch Sunday’s showdown with Dewsbury Rams at Bower Fold (3pm kick-off) is to buy tickets in advance via our online ticketing page.
The importance of the result, and who wins the precious Championship points on offer, can’t be over-estimated in what should be a nerve-jangling afternoon for both sets of fans.
Let’s make sure we make home advantage count with lots of Yeds fans in the ground — and lots of noise.