Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Sunday's Coming Play-Off Special: Oldham

Due to the vagaries of our modern stop-start summer season, by the time we rock-up at Whitebank on Sunday, Oldham will have gone four weeks without a competitive game. Undefeated in the last nine games of the regular season, almost a month's hiatus twixt games could easily kill any momentum.

However, having grouted the gap with a couple of friendlies, Scott Naylor is confident that his side won't go into the Sunday's A627M El Classico undercooked. Speaking in the Oldham Chronicle he said: “We’ve seen already this season how passionate Oldham-Rochdale games can be and this one will be especially so because there is so much riding on it. Our record against them is pretty decent - three wins out of four - and if we turn up and give 100-per-cent there’s no reason we can’t beat them again."  I love how Oldham count the Law Cup when they win it, but dismiss it when they don't.

Whitebank here we come!

The only possible change to the squad which pipped Hornets by five points last month involves Salford Red Devils' Dual Reg player Jon Ford who is back in training after dislocating an elbow. Clearly, using Roughyed logic, even daring to have a DR player in the squad makes Oldham Salford's reserve side.

Come 4.40pm on Sunday, the winners will go straight through to the final at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, September 29, while the losers must gird their loins and play again - at home - on Sunday Sept. 22 to the winners of the London v Hemel game.

Here at TLCRF80mins towers, we're hoping for a week off while Oldham play Hemel.

So, stuff three mates into the car and get yourself to Whitebank early to get a half decent view of proceedings. The A627M El Classico is a coronary on a stick at the best of times, but Sunday's game should have a little extra fizz. We can't wait.

UPDATE RFL Official Preview/Press Release

Oldham coach Scott Naylor is hopeful Jon Ford could feature in Sunday’s Kingstone Press
Championship One play-off final qualifier. (You heard it here first, folks).

Naylor said: “The fact he’s well enough now to join in training again has given us a lot more hope.”

Rochdale Hornets captain Wayne English is rated as ‘less than 50/50’ by coach Ian Talbot ahead of Sunday’s showdown. Talbot said: “Wayne’s been key for us this season, but he missed training on Tuesday and we’ll assess him again on Thursday.” (This was written ahead of Thursday night's session).

Talbot added: “Last week we didn’t produce the best performance, but we got the result. I’d settle for another bad performance on Sunday if we get the result we want."

“There’s lots of local rivalry and tradition involved between Rochdale and Oldham. This is the fifth meeting of the season and they’re ahead so far, so we’re gunning for it. We’ve already been to Whitebank and got a win this season, so that gives us some confidence.”