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Oldham face two tough tests in Betfred Championship

Oldham RLFC, beaten in their last five Betfred Championship games, face two important matches coming up against Newcastle Thunder in the North-East this Sunday, followed by Dewsbury Rams at Bower Fold seven days later.

The bottom five are Swinton Lions, who have lost each of their nine games, then come Oldham, Whitehaven, Newcastle and Dewsbury in that order.

Dewsbury are the only one of the five to have won more than two, but Newcastle and Whitehaven are above Roughyeds because they have each drawn one as well, whereas Matt Diskin's men have beaten Swinton and Halifax at Bower Fold, but have been beaten by Batley Bulldogs, London Broncos, Featherstone Rovers and York City Knights away and Whitehaven, Widnes Vikings and Sheffield at home.

Places are determined this season by win percentages, not points, yet to give an idea of how tight it is in the bottom half of the 14-club Championship, 13th-placed Oldham and seventh-placed York City Knights are separated by only four points.

Newcastle won 36-30 at bottom-club Swinton last weekend while Oldham went down 32-28 at home to eighth-placed Sheffield.

Roughyeds will be desperate to end their losing run up in the North-East and they are boosted by good news on the injury front.

Big prop Phil Joy appeared to come through his first competitive game of the season with no adverse affect and the only apparent new injury involved half-back Dave Hewitt, who had to leave the field near the end with a rib injury.

While Ben Heaton (thigh) and Jack Spencer (back) will this week continue their fights for fitness, half-back James Barran and utility back Kyran Johnson are now back in full training.

Johnson hasn't played all season and Barran has been out with groin trouble since the Betfred Challenge Cup second-round tie at Swinton at the end of March, apart from a short spell off the bench at London Broncos in late April when he suffered a recurrence.

With Fathers' Day coming up this weekend, Roughyeds hope to do brisk business this week on club merchandise.

"We've never had as big a range as we have now," said chairman Chris Hamilton.

You can see what's on offer by going to the club website and following the links.



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