David Cookson

Date published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
OLDHAM RL Club’s young centre David Cookson is staying at Whitebank after talks with chairman Chris Hamilton and coach Scott Naylor.
The former England Students’ international and BARLA Great Britain under-23s centre has signed a new two-year contract which will tie him to Roughyeds until the end of the 2014 season.
Of the other 19 players in Naylor’s new-look squad, 18 have signed one-year deals and long-serving stand-off Neil Roden (32) is midway through a two-year agreement which, on completion, may see him hang up his boots for the final time.
In contrast, 24-year-old Cookson has many years ahead of him.
He has pinned his faith in new boss Naylor’s ability to lead Roughyeds out of Championship One at his first attempt and expects to see Oldham well established in the higher Championship division by the time he is looking to sign his next agreement.
“A two-year deal suited me nicely,” he said. “I’m banking on promotion in 2013 and a good year in the Championship in 2014. Then will be an appropriate time to review my position and make decisions about the future.
“In the meantime I’m looking forward to being coached by Scott and Spanner (assistant boss Lee Spencer) and picking up lots of tips about how to play centre from the man who clocked up more than 150 Super League games in that position.
“We under-performed last season but hopefully we will right the wrongs this time and get to where we want to be.”
Cookson, who lives in Rochdale, works full-time as a caretaker at Friezland Primary School in Greenfield.
Like fellow squad members Jamie Dallimore, Danny Langtree, Phil Joy, Kenny Hughes, Steven Nield and Michael Ward, he first shot to prominence in Oldham’s under-23s side, which he joined from Oldham St Anne’s in 2011.
The 2012 campaign was his first at senior level.
Naylor was keen to keep him after watching his first-team appearances on DVD.
“He’s big and strong,” said the Roughyeds boss, “and extremely committed. As a former centre myself I should be able to show him a thing or two and pass on some of the tips I picked up over over the last 20 years in helping him to improve his game.”
Chairman Chris Hamilton has watched Cookson develop since he first arrived at the club two years ago.
He said: “He found it tough going when he first got into the senior side. He went back to the reserves for a spell before regaining his first-team place, but throughout a difficult season he displayed a fantastic attitude.
“While he still has much to learn he has the attributes and the physique to make the most of the opportunities that will come his way next season.”
After a break of less than three months the players were back in last night for the start of pre-season training which will take place three times a week in the build-up to 2013 warm-up matches in the early part of next year.