Fogarty to debut against Featherstone

Date published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011

HIGHLY-RATED teenager Matthew Fogarty will fulfil a sporting ambition on Saturday when he makes his debut at Featherstone for Oldham Rugby League Club.

Coach Tony Benson won’t name his squad for this pre-season warm-up clash (5.30pm kick off) until later, but he has revealed in advance of the team announcement that the Roughyeds’ youngest player will definitely be involved.

Aged 18, the former Saddleworth Rangers centre turned down approaches from Super League club Huddersfield Giants to sign a one-year Oldham contract in early November.

He had already spent three years at Salford City Reds and was back at Saddleworth when Oldham made their move for one of the top young players in the area.

He has been training with John Hough’s reserve-team squad, but it was always thought he would soon be pushing for a chance to impress at the higher level.

Said Benson: “Matthew is a young player with a lot of potential. John (Hough) and I have been trying to work out the best path for him to take in order to give him the best possible chance to make progress.

“He trained with the first team this week and he looked as though he had always been part of the squad. He lacks nothing in size, pace or skill. He is an exciting prospect who deserves a chance to test himself at Featherstone. He will be given that chance and we will see how he goes.”

Oldham-born, Fogarty played at Saddleworth from aged eight to when he was 13. He then moved to Waterhead and on to Salford City Reds.

When he signed for Roughyeds a couple of months ago, he said: “I’m ambitious, but for now I’m just glad to fulfil my dream to play for Oldham, my hometown club.”

His first big chance at senior level has come early — and that was no surprise to Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton given the youngster’s potential and Benson’s willingness to reward skill and enthusiasm by providing opportunities.

The chairman said: “Matthew should be aware that he is under no undue pressure. He will be given a taste of first-team rugby against a very good Championship outfit.

“It will test him and it will be a big learning curve for him, but he will benefit from the experience.

“From the club’s point of view his call-up underpins what we have often said — that promising young players coming to Oldham will always be given a chance.”