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Copland faces lengthy lay off

UNLUCKY Liam Copland, who suffered ligament damage in his back during last week’s win against Cornwall, will miss Oldham’s Betfred League One game at Doncaster on Sunday and is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks.

He got his big chance on the right wing when Tommy Brierley broke a leg and smashed a knee in the first league game against Keighley Cougars at the Vestacare Stadium and now, four games later, this.

How unlucky can you be?

“It’s desperately bad luck on the players, but also on the club,” said head coach Stu Littler. “Tommy’s gone for the season and now Liam, who was in such good form, is going to be out for a few weeks.”

Philosophical, laid back as ever and always upbeat, Stu added:

“It is what it is though, part of the game, I’m afraid. You’ve got to look on the bright side. It throws up opportunities for others who will be keen to play well and keep the jersey..

“Whichever 17 we play on Sunday, they will be focused on an 80-minute performance, without periods when we lapse. We’ve been concentrating on that in training this week and it will be interesting to see how we go on Sunday.

“We are excited about the game and really looking forward to it.”

Welsh centre Calvin Wellington, whose stomach complaint has restricted him to only 20 of the 400 minutes of league action we’ve had so far, is still out, but hopes to be back soon, as he told fans when interviewed in the hospitality suite last Sunday.

Neither Jason Muranka (concussion) nor Sean Slater (knee) has played a league game yet, but there’s brighter news on both of them.

Slater is back in full contact training and will be available for selection on Sunday, while Muranka has taken a significant step forward by reaching the return-to-training level of the RFL’s overall strategy for players suffering a severe head injury.

Explained Littler:

“He can now start light training, which is a big step forward, but he’s still a bit away from playing again.”

However, Brad Jinks came successfully through the Cornwall game on his return after missing the previous two games with a groin injury,

A 21-man squad will be named later today.

Doncaster, fifth in the division, are one point and one place better off than Oldham.

While Roughyeds have won two out of five, lost two and drawn one (five league points), the Dons have won three and lost two (six league points).

They were beaten at Keighley and at home to Swinton Lions, while they recorded wins against Cornwall, Midlands Hurricanes and, with a 48-0 score, West Wales Raiders, who forfeited because they couldn’t find medical cover for the game to go ahead.

Clearly not satisfied with his forwards, coach Richard Horne has this week taken two loan men — Pat O’Donovan from Wakefield and Loui McConnell from Featherstone.

Both will be available to face the Roughyeds.

Commenting on the announcement that Oldham will soon take up joint occupancy of Melrose Playing Fields in Chadderton, with Hollinwood ARLFC, Littler said:

“It’s an amazing move for the club. Congrats to all concerned from the playing side.

“As a club, we are striving to be the best version of ourselves.”

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