Kicking off at Barrow

Date published: Monday, January 6, 2014

OLDHAM Rugby League Club’s pre-season programme of warm-up games will begin with a tough challenge at Barrow on Sunday, February 2 (kick-off 2pm).

As previously announced, Swinton Lions will be at Whitebank a week later on Sunday, February 9 (3pm) — and club officials are hoping to stage a third practice match on one of the two blank weekends before the start of the Kingstone Press Championship One campaign on Sunday, March 2.

Coach Scott Naylor has specifically targeted Championship clubs in order to give his young squad challenges that will test them physically and mentally.

“We’ve had a struggle to arrange friendlies because Championship One starts after the other divisions and that in itself caused problems,” said the Roughyeds boss.

“However, we were given the opportunity to play Swinton and Barrow and those games should be ideal preparation for us as we look ahead to March 2 and our long trip to South Wales on the opening day of the Championship One campaign.

“You don’t go to Barrow in early February expecting anything less than a tough contest in a tough environment against a big side.

“We’ll have to be switched-on mentally — and it will be an ideal opportunity for me to look at our new players for the first time in competitive action.”

Barrow finished the 2013 Championship season just above the relegated bottom two and with 33 points, one fewer than Swinton.