Dean Hatton

Date published: Thursday, March 25, 2010

ROUGHYEDS have strengthened their squad with the signing of half-back Dean Hatton, who was released by Hornets last week.

The 22-year-old former Wigan and Leigh player, who was named man of the match when Hornets beat a young Oldham side in the pre-season Law Cup game, has signed a Roughyeds deal to the end of the season.

He will make his debut in a strong-looking Oldham reserves side for tonight’s (Thursday) pre-season warm-up game at Dewsbury, which kicks off at 7.30pm.

Also in a 20-man squad from which final selection will be made later are three more recent signings — forwards Ian Hodson, Jamie I’Anson and Luke Sutton.

I’Anson was a first-team substitute in the 29-16 win at Hunslet on March 12, but if Hodson and Sutton survive the cut and are named in the final 17 tonight it will be their first appearances of the season in Oldham colours.

First-team squad members Mark Brocklehurst, Ben Mellor and Saqib Murtza are also in the running to get some game time.

Mellor, the young prop, has had little rugby in the past six weeks, while Brocklehurst and Saqib didn’t play at Hunslet last time out, Brocklehurst because he was serving a one-match ban after previously scoring four tries in three games.

Reserves (from): Ross Coates, Sean Hamilton, Mark Brocklehurst, Jamie Knight, Will Midgley, Johnny Fullalove, Mick Diveney, Luke Sutton, Dean Hatton, Ben Mellor, Saqib Murtza, Michael Ward, Ian Hodson, Jamie I’Anson, Matty Lowe, Phil Joy, Mark Smith, Austen Barrowclough, Tom McMullen, Jacob Kinney.

Mark Brocklehurst -- one of several senior players in a 20-man squad for tonight's reserve team game at Dewsbury.

Coates, Ward, Barrowclough and Kinney are just starting out on their professional careers, having recently signed two-year deals.

Commenting on the Hatton signing, chairman Chris Hamilton said he was a player Roughyeds had been aware of for some time, having actually spoken to him three years ago when he was at Leigh.

“Nothing came of it at that time,” he added, “and he ultimately moved on to Rochdale where things haven’t worked out for him.

“He wanted an opportunity to come to Oldham and prove himself and we are more than willing to give him that opportunity. He is looking forward to the challenge and he wants to grasp it.”

Reserve team coach John Hough added: “It’s up to Dean now to show us what he can do. He has drawn a line under his time at Rochdale and he is ready to make a fresh start.”

Fans are reminded that seats on a supporters’ coach to the game against South Wales Scorpions in Neath on Sunday, April 11 need to be booked by April 1 at the Roughyeds office on 0161 628 3677.