Naylor faced with Thompson dilemma

Date published: 12 June 2014

THE postponement of tonight's under-20s game at Keighley has put on hold Oldham RL forward Liam Thompson's return to rugby after injury.

Thompson (22) was in line to play his first game in three months at Cougar Park – the ground where he made a similar comeback last year.

Back then he played his first game for Roughyeds after shoulder trouble and three days later made his senior debut off the bench in a 36-0 win at Gloucester.

It was to be the first of his 16 appearances out of a possible 18 in his first season at Whitebank as he became a key member of the pack after a delayed start.

Fourteen months on, he was ready to return in the under-20s after surgery to repair a fractured

cheekbone, hopefully as a precursor to making another big impact at first-team level over the second half of the season. Now it remains to be seen whether coach Scott Naylor will hold him back for next Thursday's second-team game at Featherstone - or throw him in at the deep end against South Wales Scorpions at Whitebank on Sunday afternoon.

Naylor will need a replacement in the 17 for the suspended Danny Langtree and he is known to be a big admirer of Thompson's willingness to do the vital donkey work in defence.

But he might consider it too much of a gamble to put him on the bench, given that he hasn't made a tackle in anger since March 9.

Mark Hobson, another senior forward who hasn't figured in the last few games, was also scheduled to play at Keighley.

Oldham were forced to seek a postponement because of a major injury crisis at under-20s level.

An already-difficult situation became impossible to overcome on Tuesday night when new injuries emerged after the game against the RAF last Saturday.