OLDHAM players are eagerly looking forward to going head to head with Bradford Bulls on the big pitch at the Provident Stadium, Odsal on Friday, says Roughyeds boss Scott Naylor.
“It will be a challenge – a big one – but the boys seem to play better against the better teams and they’re keen to see what they can do when facing up to the bookies’ red-hot favourites to win the league,” added Naylor.
There was a time when Odsal was his stomping ground and he was one of the Bradford crowd’s heroes.
But in his sixth season as Oldham’s head coach he is still searching for his first win at one of rugby league’s most iconic venues, although he did mastermind a famous victory against the Bulls at Bower Fold, Stalybridge last year.
Home and away it was the Roughyeds’ only win against the Bulls in six clashes during Naylor’s time at Oldham – four of them at Odsal.
Looking ahead to the Good Friday fixture (6pm kick-off), he said: “Some people are saying the Bulls will go through the season unbeaten. Bookies made them odds-on to win Betfred League 1 and go up automatically, so they’re under a lot of pressure to perform in every game.
“They’re a good mix of youth and experience and they’re coached by John Kear, who has coached at every level up to and including international.
“It will be a tough game on a big, wide pitch, but we are really looking forward to it.
“We were below our best at North Wales Crusaders on Sunday, but we managed to get the two league points, which was very important.”
Roughyeds came through the game at Wrexham with no injuries other than the usual bumps and bruises.
Naylor expects to have a full squad available to him with the possibility of dual-reg as well, although that has still to be confirmed.