RUGBY LEAGUE: Oxford must start quickly, says Benson

The Oxford Times: Tony Benson Tony Benson

KINGSTONE PRESS CHAMPIONSHIP ONE

OXFORD RL head coach Tony Benson has warned they cannot afford another slow start at home to second-placed Oldham Roughyeds on Sunday (3).

The Lancastrians come to Iffley Road having won six of their last seven matches, while Oxford have lost their last five.

Benson said: “Oldham are a very experienced team with some really good players, so we will need to be on our guard on Sunday.

“We cannot afford to start slowly like we have the last couple of games otherwise they will punish us.”

“In the last two weeks, we just haven’t had the ball and spent too much time defending our line and you are never going to win a game like that.”

Oxford captain Alex Thompson, who faces his old team, said: “We have all been disappointed with our performances over the last few weeks and know we are a much better side than our performances have shown.

“Sunday gives us a chance to put this right and we have been working hard in training to tidy up the areas that we need to work on.”

Prop Dave Ellison should return after missing the defeat to Gloucestershire All Golds due to personal commitments.

Benson will give late checks to Tommy Connick and Valu Bentley (knee).

Chris Clarke (rib) definitely misses out, along with Luke Evans (shoulder) and Matty Hadden, who has returned home to Ireland for the short term due to personal issues.

Oxford are calling the match “services day” and the RAF and the police will have stands.

All serving personnel and their families can watch the game for half-price with an official ID/pass.

Oxford RL squad: Baird, Benson, Bentley, Blaney, Briggs, Brooker, Connick, Crabtree, Davies, Ellison, Hayles, Hoggins, J Morris, S Morris, Mulkeen, Osborn, Rowland, Rice, Sharratt, Temata, Thompson, Newton, Winfield.

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