CH1 preview: Oldham v Rochdale (Sun)

Rochdale Hornets coach Ian Talbot insist it would be a ‘fairytale’ if his side win on Sunday and secure promotion to the Kingstone Press Championship.

Talbot said: “We’ve been through a lot of adversity this season. There were times when I was questioning what I was doing, and quite a lot of this squad were playing amateur rugby last season.

“They’ve got better and better as the season’s gone on, and wouldn’t it be a fairytale if Rochdale were to get promoted?”

Hornets will end a 22-year wait for a major final appearance when they face their local rivals Oldham in Sunday’s showdown.

Talbot, who has a fully fit squad to select from, added: “Our last two games have been bruising encounters where we’ve come up with last-minute plays to win.

“That bodes well for us, because we know if we have another tight game we can come out on top.

“The lads have already shown they’ve got the determination. Play-off games are renowned for being tight affairs and our boys have been through that a couple of times already.”

Oldham coach Scott Naylor could name an unchanged team from the side that hammered London Skolars last week.

Naylor said: “We won’t be killing ourselves in training this week. The emphasis will be on staying calm and relaxed. There will be no break in routine.

“We don’t need to do anything differently. We’re getting ready for a game of rugby, just like we have done all season.

“Come Sunday we’ll be relaxed, but we’ll also be ready. That’s the key.”

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