NEW loan signings Jordan Walne and Liam Bent will be among 23 players from whom Scott Naylor will name his Oldham 17 for Sunday’s finely-balanced derby at Rochdale.
The two forwards arrived from Salford Red Devils to compensate for the continuing injury absence of prop Phil Joy with a dislocated shoulder and to make up for having no dual-registered players from injury-hit Huddersfield Giants for the third week in a row.
They have each come initially on a one-month loan.
Walne, 24, who has made 48 Super League appearances, played a couple of League 1 games for Roughyeds on dual-reg in 2013 before heading off to Workington Town for a brief spell in Cumbria and then starting his Super League career back at base.
Bent, 19, is in his second season as a full-time pro at Salford, having won a club ‘best forward’ award in the under-19s while he was still only 17.
Said Naylor: “Apart from Phil Joy, everybody else is in the mix, including the two new lads.
“Walne is returning from injury and is keen to grasp the opportunity of game time in a tough division, while Bent is a young lad who is keen to gain experience at our level.
“They are two good lads who will give us more options – great this, especially as we are going through a period when our dual-reg opportunities have temporarily dried up.”
Naylor will pick from: Backs: Chisholm, Clay, Egodo, Gill, Grimshaw, Hewitt, Leatherbarrow, Lepori, Neild, Turner, Tyson; Forwards: Bent, Burke, Davies, Gee, Hughes, Langtree, Neal, Owen, Spencer, Thompson, Walne, Ward.
Looking ahead to a match that has the potential to be a real sizzler, Naylor said: “We didn’t give a good account of ourselves in the Law Cup (Rochdale won 24-12 at Bower Fold), but it will be nice to get another go at them with a stronger side and with a few games under our belt.
“It’s going to be extremely tough, but we’v got a decent record on their ground. They’ll be high on confidence after winning at Featherstone, but we are looking forward to going over there and putting a few things right.
“We didn’t do ourselves any favours in pre-season games, but since then we’ve played some good rugby and we’ve deserved to get more league points than the two we’ve got.
“Confidence isn’t a problem; ability isn’t a problem; we’ve just to go over there and give a good account of ourselves.”
Rochdale coach Alan Kilshaw has masterminded three wins so far, at home to Dewsbury and away at Bradford Bulls and Featherstone Rovers.
He will pick from the 17 who inflicted Featherstone’s first defeat of the year, plus Chris Riley, Lewis Galbraith, Ryan Maneely and Samir Tahraoul.
Backs: Case, Eccleston, Galbraith, Greenwood, Holmes, Massam, Palfrey, Riley, Yates; Forwards: Bennion, Bridge, Crowley, Francis, Haddon, Lobwein, Maneely, Middlehurst, Moores, Tahraoul, Taira, Wilde.
Only the main stand will be open (1,300 seats), but if that fills up plans are in place to open the Sandy Lane end (standing).