Oldham look to ‘prove a point’

Date published: 18 March 2011

OLDHAM coach Tony Benson insists his players are ready for anything that Workington will throw at them when the two teams lock horns at Derwent Park on Sunday.

The Roughyeds are on a high after a 66-12 romp over Gateshead Thunder on the opening day of the Co-Operative Championship One season — a game Oldham were expected to win comfortably.

But Benson sees this weekend’s showdown as a far sterner examination of his side’s credentials against one of the clubs tipped to make a strong push for promotion.

He said: “It’s a tough assignment, but we are really looking forward to testing ourselves against a team that’s tipped to be there or thereabouts at the end of the year.

“They’ve spent money to recruit the best Cumbrians they can find. They’ve gone for quality as well as quantity and they are stronger than they were last year. They are the early-season form team.

“However, we are going up there to prove a point and to show that we are back to our best and ready for the challenge.”

Mark Brocklehurst and Paul Noone will have late fitness checks tomorrow before Benson finalises his squad to go to Workington.

Left winger Brocklehurst, top try scorer with eight in four games, did not train on Tuesday for fear of further aggravating a sore calf muscle.

Back-row man Noone, who has more than 100 Super League games on his CV, was ill from a virus early in the week and was told to stay away from training last night to reduce the risk of it spreading through the squad.

Joint vice-captains Martin Roden and Marcus St Hilaire are ruled out by hamstring injuries, but youngsters Ben Wood and Matthew Fogarty, who both picked up knocks in the win against Gateshead Thunder last Sunday, have been cleared to play.

Also back in contention are prop Dave Ellison, hooker John Clough and right-winger Lucas Onyango.

Big props Ryan MacDonald and Marc Jackson will be back to breath fire into the Workington pack. Town coach Gary Charlton believes the game will hinge on a big-impact forward battle with MacDonald and Jackson leading from the front.

Charlton: “You’ve got to meet fire with fire. We’ll see plenty of big collisions. It’s going to be a forward battle.”