NRC Preview: Oldham v Rochdale

Saqib Murtza, Paul Reilly and Marcus St Hilaire will all be given fitness tests on Thursday night before Tony Benson finalises his line-up.

Craig Robinson (nose) and Kashley Watkins are definitely ruled out but Benson is hopeful at least one of Murtza, Reilly and St Hilaire can be passed fit.

Benson said: “We went really well against Leigh and it tells me we’ve been doing the right things in pre-season.

“I’ve no idea what Rochdale’s team is going to be or how they’re going to play, so we’re focussed on ourselves.

“I do look forward to these derby games, though. There’s always a lot of emotion and a great atmosphere.”

Rochdale coach John Stankevitch will be without Dean Gorton (shoulder) but has an otherwise fully fit squad, with Michael Ostick set to play despite a recent ankle injury.

Stankevitch said: “Oldham have some very good players. Wayne Kerr is very aggressive in the forwards and they’ve got two decent half-backs in Matt Ashe and Neil Roden.

“I think it will be a forward battle on Sunday and the weather might eliminate some of the fancy skills.

“We’ll just have to roll our sleeves up and rip in to the hard work.”

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