COACH Scott Naylor has confirmed that, long-term injuries apart, he will have a full squad from which to pick his Oldham 17 for Sunday’s big relegation battle against Swinton Lions at Heywood Road, Sale (3pm).
Adam Neal and Richard Lepori are included in the provisional mix after training fully last night. Neither prop Neal nor utility back Lepori, an Italian international, has played for several weeks due to injury.
Said an upbeat Naylor: “It’s the first time in three months that we’ve had the equivalent of a full squad at our disposal. That’s nice.
“It doesn’t bother me in the slightest to have a few tough decisions to make because whatever I come up with it is nothing personal.
“I’ll go with what I think is best for the team in this specific game and that’s all I can do.”
Naylor will put in his 19-man squad tomorrow and then finalise it and trim it on Saturday morning.
He added: “Swinton have some late decisions to make as well, but we’ll be preparing to take on their strongest team.
“We trained well last night and the lads won’t be concerned about the occasion because we’ve had a few games like this over the last two or three years.
“We’ve had Grand Finals, promotion deciders and battles to stay in this division last year, so we’re used to pressure and to the big occasion.”
Naylor will pick from these: Clay, Tyson, Leatherbarrow, Hewitt, Gee, Neal, Spencer, Thompson, Adamson, Bent, Lepori, Davies, Burke, Hughes, Grimshaw, Ward, Pearce-Paul, Adebiyi, Nield, Wilkinson, Hooley, Morris.
Club chairman Chris Hamilton said: “It took us a long time to get out of League 1 so we’ll be doing our utmost to make sure we don’t go back.
“We’ve had an unprecedented number of serious injuries, several of them season-ending injuries, so it’s a fantastic effort to be where we are and still in with a fighting chance of Championship survival.
“You’ve got to take off your hat to Swinton’s players and coach for hanging in there despite their club’s off-field problems over the last few months, but our lads are quietly confident.”