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A season-defining three weeks
Monday 15th May 2017 @ 09:40 by Mark Phillip

When they report back for training on Tuesday, after a week off, Oldham will be gearing up for three of their most important games of the season against Batley Bulldogs, Rochdale Hornets and Swinton Lions.

Bradford Bulls and Dewsbury Rams currently occupy the bottom two relegation places in the KP Championship then come, in ascending order, Swinton (six points from 13 games), Rochdale (seven from 13), Oldham (nine from 12) and Batley (ten from 13).

On the day Roughyeds play Batley at the Manchester Regional Arena, Sunday, May 21 (3pm), Rochdale go to Halifax and Swinton go to Hull KR.

A win for Scott Naylor’s men would take them into seventh — their highest ever placing since winning promotion to the Championship a season and a half ago.

Equally importantly, it could put more daylight between them and their close Lancashire rivals, Rochdale and Swinton.

Next up is the Summer Bash weekend at Blackpool in which Oldham play Rochdale, as a follow-up to their 26-all draw at the Crown Oil Arena in March, and Swinton take on Sheffield.

A week later, on Sunday, June 4, Oldham go to Swinton and Rochdale go to Sheffield, who will also have a big say in how the bottom half of the Championship table will look after the first weekend in June.

Oldham will be targeting a maximum six points from the three games, after which they will have eight games left in the regular season — six of them at Bower Fold.

“This week’s rest will do us a world of good, mentally and physically. It’s value can’t be over-stated,” said coach Scott Naylor. “When we all get together again next week it will be like a fresh start for the second half of the season.”

Swinton don’t have the luxury of a break — they play Wigan Warriors at Heywood Road, Sale on Sunday in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

By Roger Halstead