Oldham coach Matt Diskin says Super League outside backs Ryan Ince and Lee Kershaw will add genuine quality to his squad in the coming weeks.
Former Widnes winger Ince has joined on a month’s loan from Leigh, while Kershaw returns to the Roughyeds on dual-registration from partner club Wakefield, having spent time with Oldham last season.
Diskin said: “They’re quality lads and I’m absolutely delighted to get them.
“Fans don’t need me to tell them anything about Lee, while Ryan has a great try-scoring record in the Betfred Championship, having scored 19 tries in 22 games for Widnes last year before signing for Leigh.
“When players like this are available you’ve got to move for them, and that’s what we did to get them here.
“We are down on numbers and they will add considerable strength to the squad, even if it’s only briefly.
“It’s at times like these that loan and dual-registration agreements are a massive plus for us and why it was important that we entered the dual-registration agreement with Wakefield.
“In the situation we are in, we’ve got to take it one game at a time and field what we consider to be the strongest possible side every time.”
Diskin’s permitted five loan and dual-registration quota was expected to be filled against Bradford on Sunday by centre Jack Croft, with props Titus Gwaze and Jimmy Beckett also available.
The Roughyeds coach still has a number of injury issues in his squad and was checking on Liam Bent (knee), Matthew Fletcher (shoulder) and Ben Davies (back) at the weekend.
DEWSBURY RAMS coach Lee Greenwood says the club can cope with its current fixture schedule, although he admits it will be a worry if they suffer any more postponements.
The Rams have had three games called off already this year ahead of Sunday’s clash with Widnes, although they managed to rearrange the away trip to Halifax and played it two days later.
That leaves outstanding games against Swinton in the league and Whitehaven in the Challenge Cup, with the latter now being set to be played on Wednesday March 11.
Greenwood said: “If we don’t get any more called off we should be alright.
“The Whitehaven one is sorted for midweek and won’t impact on the league, because if we win it’s the Cup again that weekend at Newcastle.
“That just leaves the Swinton game to catch up on.
“If another one gets called off then it would be tricky, but it’s not an issue at the moment.
“It’s been a bit like pre-season when you play ad hoc matches and we’re not into week-on-week rugby yet.
“But there’s nothing we can do about it and injury-wise we’re pretty good, because we haven’t been playing.”
A near fully-fit squad meant that Tommy Brierley and Rhys Davies were set to play for Hull KR reserves at the weekend and Morgan Punchard, Sam Moorhouse and James Thornton for League One partners Coventry Bears.
Greenwood added: “In an ideal world we’d have our own development programme with an Academy and reserves, but we’re a way off that at the moment until the game changes what it’s trying to do.
“So we’re trying to make the best use of the systems in place and we’ve moved on loads from last year.
“Last season we had lads twiddling their thumbs not getting a game and being disappointed, but we tied these partnerships up early and it means lads can play every week.”
FEATHERSTONE ROVERS have confirmed they will return to Spain to face Valencia Huracanes in 2021.
Rovers took on the fledging club in a pre-season friendly in January this year at the Estadio de Rugby.
Now the clubs have agreed to compete in a second game, following positive feedback from the Rovers supporters that made the trip.
Rovers chief executive Davide Longo said: “Having experienced the trip first hand earlier this year and seeing what a fantastic time supporters had, we’re keen to arrange the fixture again.
“Alicante airport is very accessible from all major UK airports, making it easier for Rovers supporters to travel to the game and enjoy a weekend away.
“We also found it to be an affordable area and extremely welcoming to us and our travelling supporters, so hopefully another successful trip can help promote Rugby League in Spain.”
Coach James Webster added: “I’m all for international rugby and if this is something that can help the game grow in a new place then that’s great.
“There are plenty of people happy to kick the sport and not do anything about it, so it’s good to see the club willing to help expand and grow the game.”
Rovers forward James Lockwood has been handed a one-match penalty notice following his red card in the Challenge Cup win over Barrow Raiders.
Webster expected to have his full five loan and dual-registration spots filled at the weekend and says that led him to turn down potential new recruits last week.
He added: “We had a couple of loans thrown at us, but because we can only play a certain number that’s not something I’m interested in at the moment.
“We’d rather try and bring somebody in permanently and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
LEIGH CENTURIONS have allowed Martyn Ridyard, Brad Holroyd and Ryan Ince to go out on a month’s loan to get game time.
Ridyard and Holroyd have joined League One Rochdale Hornets, while Ince has linked up with Oldham in the Championship.
All three had struggled to force their way into John Duffy’s side this season.
Stand-off Ridyard is third on the Centurions’ all-time points scoring list, while Holroyd joined the club last year and recently has played several games for St Helens reserves, earning glowing reports for his performances on the wing.
Ince arrived at Leigh during the close-season, but is yet to make his competitive debut for the club.
Last week also saw the Centurions announce Leigh College as a training kit sponsor as part of a partnership between the two organisations.
Leigh College’s Warren Turley said: “The Category Three Academy offers both our male and female rugby players the opportunity to gain an academic qualification whilst improving their skills and knowledge through being coached by a professional Rugby League player.
“These qualifications include Level One and Two Sport as well as Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport and Sports Science.
“The Academy team train for four hours per week, which is built into their timetable, plus a weekly fixture against other colleges from the region.”
Prop Sam Brooks has been handed a two-match penalty notice for a trade B shoulder charge in the Challenge Cup win over Batley.
YORK CITY KNIGHTS have signed winger Lewis Carr from Castleford Tigers on dual-registration terms.
The 19-year-old has an impressive try scoring record while progressing through the Tigers’ Academy ranks, and featured for the Knights in pre-season against Halifax.
Knights coach James Ford said: “Lewis has plenty of potential to take this opportunity and really kick on.
“He’s aware that there are some wingers in front of him, he’s aware of what he needs to focus on in terms of his development and I’m looking forwards to seeing the competition for places unfold.”
The Knights’ game against Featherstone Rovers on Sunday, March 22 will be shown live on Sky Sports.
The round six fixture in the Betfred Championship will form part of a double header alongside the Super League match between Toronto Wolfpack and Wakefield Trinity.
The Knights will host Featherstone in the 3pm kick-off before York will host its first ever Super League game as Toronto play Wakefield at 5.15pm.
The game is scheduled to be played at the LNER Community Stadium, and it could be the first game at the new venue, although no opening date has yet been announced by the partnership behind the development.
York last week confirmed that their round five game against London Broncos on Sunday March 8 will definitely be at Bootham Crescent.
WIDNES VIKINGS were without key trio Matty Smith, Deon Cross and Shane Grady for Sunday’s clash with Dewsbury Rams.
Smith has a hamstring complaint and Cross an ankle injury, while Grady was unavailable because of pre-arranged work commitments.
It meant that Warrington trio Dec Patton, Jake Mamo and Ellis Robson came into Tim Sheens’ squad on dual-registration.
Sheens has been pleased with the way forward Kenny Baker has adapted to stepping up from League One, following his close season arrival from North Wales Crusaders.
Sheens said: “I didn’t know much about him before I came to the club, but he’s played front row, back row and loose forward and he’s done well for us.”
SHEFFIELD EAGLES should find out the extent of a worrying facial injury sustained by Corey Makelim at training this week.
The USA international has suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone following a training ground accident, but the club doesn’t yet know how serious it is.
Coach Mark Aston said: “We’re waiting for the swelling to go down and he will have a scan on Monday.
“We’re hoping it’s just a small fracture and he won’t need an operation.”
Front rower Rory Dixon was available again at the weekend after having completed the concussion protocol.
SWINTON LIONS had three Wigan Warriors players in their squad on dual-registration for the first time at the weekend.
Mitch Clark, James McDonnell and Jake Shorrocks were all included for the clash with Leigh Centurions.
Lions coach Stuart Littler had not used the partnership this season before Sunday.
Tayler Brown, Ben Heyes and Deane Meadows were the three players to make way.
TOULOUSE OLYMPIQUE forward Harrison Hansen has seen his one-match suspension upheld, despite an appeal.
The 34-year-old was charged with a Grade B contact with the head in the 76th minute of his side’s recent game against Sheffield.
Hansen pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the one-match ban and £250 fine were confirmed, with the club also losing its £250 bond.
The former New Zealand and Samoa international will miss Toulouse’s game against Batley this Sunday, March 7.
BRADFORD BULLS‘ squad to face Oldham on Sunday was bolstered by the return of centre Rhys Evans on loan from Leeds and the addition of dual-registration pair Joe Cator and Jack Brown from Hull FC.
Bulls coach John Kear said: “Rhys is an experienced, physical player who will certainly help us.
“All three additions have strengthened us and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Kear was without winger Greg Johnson with the quad injury that kept him out of the cup tie with Underbank Rangers.