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Thursday, July 28, 2016

RIDERS BATTLING INJURIES HEADING INTO MONTREAL

Aaron Picton on Wednesday
The Saskatchewan Roughriders visit the Montreal Alouettes Friday night in a battle of 1-3 CFL teams (5:30 pm Sask Time, TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network).

While the Alouettes are playing on only three days rest following Monday's 30-17 loss at Toronto, the Roughriders have some issues of their own.

Veteran offensive linemen Xavier Fulton, Brendon Labatte and Dan Clark all missed the last couple of days of practice and their status for Friday's game is up in the air.  Coupled with the season-long ails of veteran guard Chris Best, the Riders could have as many as five hoggies out of their regular alignment come Friday night.

Rookie centre Aaron Picton took first team reps on Wednesday and it's between he and veteran Andrew Jones for the start on Friday.  Jones started last week's 30-29 win over Ottawa but was victimized by a handful of bad snaps which could force Head Coach Chris Jones to make a change.

"You guys know as much as I do at this point," Picton admitted on Wednesday regarding getting the start.  "I'm just preparing like I have for football my entire life.  These aren't the circumstances you want to come in on.  We've lost three leaders on this team in Labatte, Dan Clark and X and those are the guys you don't want to see go down.  The circumstances aren't great but I'm preparing the way I have for my entire life."

Meanwhile Chris Jones announced Mitchell Gale will get his second consecutive start at quarterback Friday night due to the lower body injury currently affecting Darian Durant.  The four year veteran from Abilene Christian said he's not concerned with the personnel the Riders will field along the offensive line against the Alouettes.

"I've just gotta focus on my job," Gale offered, "And trust that the guys that are put in positions here are put in positions for a reason.  You never want people to be injured and miss games but if that happens, then the next guy that's up needs to come in and be able to contribute."

Regarding the Alouettes playing on a short week, Chris Jones said it's not the end of the world for Montreal.

"Well it is tough but again, you've probably done preparation before and you've got things you've rep'd that you can go to that you don't necessarily need to take 100 reps at," Jones explained.  "That's the just the way we've done it and I'm sure that's what they're doing now."

The Roughriders will depart for Montreal on Thursday.

RP
@rodpedersen

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