JACK Spencer, who has missed Oldham Rugby League Club’s last half-dozen games with a back complaint, has had a scan and the club is now waiting for the results.
With several players on the casualty list and the club still coming to terms with Matt Diskin’s departure and Brian McDermott’s arrival, Roughyeds will welcome this weekend’s break.
Rugby League' big day at Wembley on Saturday takes centre stage with Featherstone playing York in the A B Sundecks 1895 Cup Final (noon) and Castleford going head-to-head with St Helens in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final (3pm), both televised.
Local referee Robert Hicks will be in charge of the 1895 Cup Final.
There are no other games on Saturday or Sunday and only one Betfred Championship game in the next few days; Dewsbury v Batley at the Tetley’s Stadium tomorrow (Thurs).
With nine games left in which to drag themselves out of the relegation zone under McDermott’s leadership, Oldham’s next big test is at Whitehaven on Sunday week, July 25 (3pm).
The Cumbrians won 36-4 behind closed doors at Bower Fold on May 8 and left Roughyeds shell-shocked only a week after their great performance in a 16-12 win against Halifax Panthers, who are now fourth in the table.
It was the first of eight defeats in a row for Roughyeds, who are now looking to McDermott, Super League’s most successful ever coach, to transform their fortunes.
He had been at the club only six days when Bradford Bulls won 54-22 at Bower Fold last Sunday, but by the time Roughyeds go to ‘Haven he will have had three weeks here and lots of time to settle in.
Furthermore, he and Brendan Sheridan were minus several casualties against the Bulls, among them Dave Hewitt, Tommy Brierley, Spencer, Phil Joy, Ben Heaton and Declan Gregory.
Hooker Gregory (ankle) will hopefully be available in time for the Whitehaven game, but there were further setbacks against Bradford with winger Joe Hartley suffering a head knock and club captain Gareth Owen a recurrence of back trouble.
Hartley will be subject to the RFL’s return-to-training protocol after a head injury and Owen will be assessed at the next training session.
There is more positive news on Hewitt, who is expected to return to full training this week after a rib injury.