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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 21:06 GMT
Hull KR hit by injuries
 Mark Blanchard is one of a five players doubtful for Hull KR as they play Oldham
Mark Blanchard is a doubt for Hull KR
Northern Ford Premiership leaders Hull KR will have their confidence tested in more ways than one against visitors Oldham on Saturday.

Coach Gary Wilkinson is in a race against time to get five of his first choice players fit for the game.

Jimmy Walker, Paul Fletcher, Mark Blanchard, Richard Wilson and Alex Godfrey are all on the treatment table.

"I would say that they all have a 50-50 chance and no more,'' said Wilkinson.

Oldham, who have yet to play a game this season, will be without suspended Anthony Gibbons and hooker Keith Brennan, who has a hamstring problem, but Neil Roden and Paul Norton should be fit.

Second-placed Whitehaven will be hoping to beat Chorley to keep up the heat on Hull.

Prop Tim Street comes into the Chorley side as coach Graeme West seeks his first points of the new season.

West may also include new signing Chris Causey in his squad.

Visitors Whitehaven welcome back prop Mark Cox while hooker Aaron Lester will have a late fitness test on a knee injury.

Leigh will be boosted by the news that boss Paul Terzis should be able to pick his best two half-backs, Lee Sanderson and Simon Svabic, for their home game against Hunslet.

Lee Sanderson and Simon Svabic should be back for Leigh
Simon Svabic should be fit for Leigh

This should mean that Keiron Purtill and Willie Swann, who played well against Batley last week will be dropped.

Hunslet will need to replace centre Lee Bargate, who picked up a one-match suspension this week.

Rochdale are unbeaten so far, but boss Martin Hall wants his team to improve on their recent form as they face Swinton at home.

"We are not performing anywhere near as well as we did last season,'' said Hall, whose side have missed Danny Sculthorpe since he joined Wigan Warriors.

Swinton coach Tony Humphries has few injury worries but could add Rob Russell, Mike Loughlin and Wayne English to his squad.

Workington also defend a 100% record as they go into their home game with Keighley.

Coach Gary Murdock has gathered together possibly the strongest squad in the division, with players like Martin Wood, Gary Charlton and Ricky Wright adding experience to an already powerful side.
Martin Wood has been in good form
Martin Wood has been in good form

Cougars coach Steve Deakin is without Max Tomlinson and Mick Banks which should give Workington the advantage.

Dewsbury Rams will want to put last week's heavy defeat behind them when they take on Barrow.

Player-coach Andy Fisher will hope to bring in Matt Griffin in with possibly Michael Wainwright moving inside to partner Davide Longo in the centre.

Barrow boss Cameron Bell is expected to name the same squad.

Hudderfield Giants will be hoping that they can stop the Sheffield Eagles from going above them in the table.

Coach Tony Smith could have centre Graeme Hallas fit, in what is otherwise an unchanged squad.

The Giants are still reeling from the news that Australian Heath Cruckshank failed to win his appeal for a work permit and is likely to return home.

Sheffield coach Mark Aston could spring a surprise by naming himself in the starting line-up.

Gateshead look set to be without centre Steve Hall for their game with Featherstone Rovers.

He has a dislocated elbow and joins Garreth Lloyd and Steve Rutherford on the injury list leaving coach Andy Kelly with a few problems to solve before Sunday's match.

Featherstone will check on the fitness of Matt Bramald, Richard Chapman and Neil Lowe.

York will be searching for their first points of the new season as they host Batley .

The Wasps expect to have hooker Peter Edwards back in action but coach Leo Epifania is without Mick Hagan, who has a long-term injury.

Batley are boosted by the signing of experienced prop Steve Molloy, who has joined them on a month-to-month contract basis.

See also:

12 Dec 01 |  Rugby League
Sox sign Hammond
10 Dec 01 |  Rugby League
Salford snap up Aussie
10 Dec 01 |  Rugby League
Wigan turn to Gregory
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