Oldham pair fight for return

Injured Oldham pair Chris Clarke and Dave Ellison, whose chances of playing again this season had looked bleak, turned up at training last night with hope in their hearts and smiles on their faces.

Clarke’s latest hospital examination has revealed that, contrary to earlier fears, he doesn’t need an operation to repair damaged ligaments in the thumb he smashed up during the 18-16 defeat at league leaders Swinton Lions five weeks ago.

Ellison, carried off in agony against Whitehaven last Sunday with a severely dislocated right elbow, was said to be “positive and upbeat” with no fracture to worry about and with the joint now stabilised in a shoulder-to-wrist plaster cast.

Both players told coach Tony Benson they had not given up hope of turning out again this season.

The Roughyeds’ remaining six league games are spread over eight weeks and if they were to do well in the play-offs and reach the final for a staggering fifth year in a row they would be playing until October 2.

Said Benson: “Elly (Ellison) has already been to Martin Roden‘s gym for a fitness programme that he can manage while he is laid up. He is desperately keen to get back as quickly as possible and he told me that, of himself, he felt fine.

“He sees the specialist again in four to six weeks and providing everything is okay he should then get the go-ahead to start his rehab.

“As for Chris Clarke he has now got the pot off — replaced with a splint — and the injury is healing well. He goes back two weeks on Friday and he is hoping and expecting that he will be cleared for rehab.”

On the down side young centre Matthew Fogarty will be out for two weeks with elbow trouble, but pack trio Luke Sutton (thigh), Luke Stenchion (back) and Paul Noone (foot) are expected to train normally tomorrow (thurs) after spending much of last night’s session on the treatment table.

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