Selection headache beckons for Naylor
Date published: 23 February 2018
Liam Bent (centre) will be back in contention for Oldham on Sunday
All but two of the 17 players who won at Whitehaven will be in contention for Oldham's third-round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie against the amateurs of Featherstone Lions at the Vestacare Stadium (3pm) on Sunday.
Jack Spencer is out with an elbow injury and dual-reg Ryan Lannon won't be involved, but the other 15 will be joined in the selection mix by Danny Rasool, Liam Bent and the newly-signed ex-Siddal triumvirate of Ben West, Zack McComb and Joe Martin.
Still out are Gareth Owen, Ben Davies and Craig Briscoe, who could be ready for the Hemel league game on Sunday week after having his "other" knee flushed out - not the one that has been rebuilt and successfully prepared for action again over the last 18 months.
"Everyone else is in the running. We'll have a strong side out," said head coach Scott Naylor, who confirmed that dual-reg players would not be involved in a cup competition.
That leaves these 20 hoping to do battle in the first "proper" rugby league game on the Vestacare's new artificial pitch:
Bent, Bridge, Crook, Eccleston, Hewitt, Holmes, Hughes, Johnson, Jones, Joy, Langtree, Martin, McComb, Neal, Nelmes, Nield, Rasool, Reid, West, Wilkinson.
These will be trimmed to 19 before the final 17 are made public about an hour before kick-off.
Added Naylor: "The Lions will be coming to win on their big day in the limelight. We're told they're bringing a few fans too.
"They're an aggressive team. They like to play the game aggressively and maybe that's why they've been doing so well.
"We've got to concentrate on doing the things we do well week in and week out. You don't try to play differently because you're playing an amateur team.
"We've got to put our trust in what we believe in. They will come with massive intentions and hoping to cause a major upset, but in reality we need to replicate the intensity and the self-belief that served us well at Whitehaven and if we do that we'll make it very difficult for them."
Admission prizes are £11 adults, £9 concessions and £2 under-16s plus a £2 across the board transfer to the stand.