Unlucky break for Clarke
Local lad Chris Clarke, the rookie Roughyed who has slipped effortlessly into first-team rugby this season, faces a spell of inactivity after breaking a wrist in Monday's Northern Rail Cup clash with Sheffield Eagles at Sedgley Park.
The unlucky Clarke broke a thumb twice last year and now he is back in plaster for a third time as Roughyeds bid farewell to the Northern Rail Cup competition and turn their attentions to Co-operative Championship 1 and their opening game on Sunday against Swinton Lions away from home.
As the Lions use Sedgley Park as their permanent home, Roughyeds travel to the Whitefield venue on Sunday (3.00pm) to take part in an away match on a pitch where they have already played home games this season against Hornets and the Eagles.
Two other injury victims from the Sheffield game, Mick Fogerty (chest infection) and Danny Whitmore (neck), are still in with a chance of playing on Sunday. Their conditions have been monitored closely all week by the club's medical staff and they will face final checks at training tomorrow morning.
Kiwi utility man Valu Bentley, who has been out of action for a few weeks with hamstring trouble, is also hoping to be cleared in time to take his place in a provisional 20-man squad which includes assistant coach Paul Reilly.
It comprises the 18 players who were on duty on Monday, minus the injured Clarke, and with the addition of Bentley, Craig Littler and Reilly.
Oldham (from): Reilly, O'Connor, Onyango, Brocklehurst, St Hilaire, Littler, Fogerty, Bentley, Whitmore, N Roden, Ashe, Ellison, Boults, M Roden, Mellor, Kerr, Saqib, Robinson, Heaton, Chandler.
Coach Tony Benson expects a tough derby clash against a Swinton club that has been splashing the cash since the end of last season.
"There is plenty of improvement in us," said the Roughyeds boss, "and we have been working on those aspects of our game which need improving.
"Swinton have been among the division's biggest spenders this year and they have a formidable squad.
"We are quietly confident, however, that if we are on top of our game we will have as good a chance as our opponents of taking all three league points."