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Cougars bring in Farrell from Sheffield

IN what promises to be a highly-charged and emotive battle of Betfred League One’s top two at Keighley tomorrow, Oldham will probably be confronted at half-back by a 26-year old Jamaican international whom Cougars have signed, only this week, on a short-term loan deal from Sheffield Eagles.

Izaac Farrell

Matt Foster has included Izaac Farrell in his 21-man squad and it’s likely that he will go straight into the team for a match Cougars need to won to get the upper hand again in this celebrated battle of the two hot favourites for the League One title – and, with it, automatic promotion to the Championship.

Both teams have been there before and didn’t last long, Keighley’s experience in going through 2022 unbeaten in League One and then getting relegated from the Championship last year offering a stark reminder of the gulf in class between the divisions.

This time, though, both Oldham and Keighley feel confident they will at least hold their own in tier two. The hard bit is getting there – that’s why so much is riding on tomorrow’s opening clash of three between the clubs this season and why the game will probably attract the biggest and best Cougar Park crowd for years, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.

Oldham will have a large following there, that’s for sure. I can personally vouch for the fact that Mike Ford and Co have been relatively successful so far in linking up with the town’s rugby-mad people again. They’re talking rugby again in Oldham (I know that from personal experience ) and that’s what you get when you put a winning team together and they go top of the table with seven wins in seven games and accumulate the best ‘for’ and ‘against’ figures in the division.

Keighley, though, are breathing down their necks and it will probably come down to how the home side cope with by far the best defence in the division and one which has the awesome record of having conceded, on average, only six points per match.

Roughyeds may well be regarded by most pundits as a well-oiled attacking machine (Sean Long’s reputation from his playing days plus his side’s ability to score points explain that) but Long is most impressed these days, as a more mature person and an experienced coach, by his group’s willingness to do the less spectacular bits best. He loves nothing better than to ‘nil’ the opposition – unlikely tomorrow, but so pleasing nevertheless.

It’s happened three times in seven games — and that’s another statistic of which he, the squad, and the club can be proud.

Knowing all that, Keighley have signed half-back Farrell to try and break us down. What do we know of him ? Well, he’s played for Huddersfield Giants, Swinton Lions, Batley Bulldogs, Workington Town, Rochdale Hornets and now Sheffield. He’s also played for Jamaica, so he’s no mug – and he’s also the son of the much-lauded Anthony Farrell, who played for Huddersfield, Sheffield and Leeds Rhinos.

One gets the feeling that this will be one game at least in which Long will more interested in the result than the score.

Win or lose it promises to be a cracker.

Watch how you go in that convoy over the hills !

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