SCOTT Naylor insists that Oldham are not going to Featherstone on Sunday, February 12 (3pm) to make up the numbers.
Buoyed by last week’s 26-10 win against Sheffield Eagles at Bower Fold, the Oldham boss believes Roughyeds can do it again in the Rovers’ back yard.
He said: “They finished fourth last year and the financial rewards for that are substantial. With the money they’ve spent since, the least they’ll be expecting will be another top-four finish.
“They’ve got a good dual-reg scheme working with Leeds Rhinos, so The Big Fellas Stadium will be one of the toughest places we’ll go to all season.
“We’ll have to play well, obviously, but we’re a better team than we were last year and I don’t think the 2017 Championship campaign will see any side breaking away at the top.
“Points will be more evenly distributed and everybody will be in with a shout every week.
“There’s no reason why we can’t go there and win and that’s the attitude we must adopt.”
Sammy Gee, who damaged a shoulder in the Sheffield game is out.
So too are Nathan Chappell, Liam Thompson, Craig Briscoe and Ben Davies as well as the suspended George Tyson.
Naylor will pick, therefore, from last week’s squad, minus Gee, plus Jamel Chisholm and Joe Burke.
Dual-reg players from Huddersfield Giants will be available all season, though not necessarily the same each week – a hint that Mikey Wood and Tyler Dickinson will be replaced by other Giants this week.
OLDHAM (from): Turner, Clay, Egodo, Grimshaw, Gill, Leatherbarrow, Hewitt, Joy, Owen, Neal, Spencer, Langtree, Ward, Hughes, Chisholm, Burke plus unnamed dual-reg personnel.
Featherstone fielded four dual-reg men from Leeds Rhinos in the side that won at Halifax last week, but one of them, prop Jordan Baldwinson , played for Rhinos at St Helens last night.
The others were winger Josh Handley and subs Josh Walters and Jack Ormondroyd.
Michael Knowles, Richard Moore, Luke Cooper and Scott Turner didn’t play because of knocks, while new club captain Misi Taulapapa was also missing, thought to have visa problems.
ROVERS (from): Hardman, Handley, Briscoe, Ulugia, Hardcastle, Thakeray, Wildie, Bostock, Carlile, Davies, Mariano, B Knowles, Briggs, Griffin, Walters, Ormondroyd, M Knowles, Moore, Cooper, Turner, Taulapapa.