OLDHAM RL have announced an official link-up with one of new coach Scott Naylor’s former Super League clubs, Salford City Reds.
In a joint press release, Roughyeds and Reds say the partnership will provide mutual benefits, including Oldham’s use of Salford’s younger players as part of their development.
“We are looking forward to working with Salford as we move forward into a new era,” said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton.
While Naylor spent most of his playing career with Bradford Bulls, he started and finished at Salford, where he then remained for several years on the coaching staff.
His No 2, Lee Spencer, was also on the coaching staff at The Willows for a few years.
The Oldham chairman said the partnership — the latest of many similar agreements involving other clubs — was a “hugely positive” move for Roughyeds.
He added: “It will provide us with new opportunities, and not only in terms of players.
“Equally importantly, we will be able to tap into, and benefit from, the full-time club’s strength and conditioning programmes, their medical expertise and their sales, marketing and commercial initiatives.
“We can also look at how we can offer incentives for both sets of fans.”
The clubs, he said, had been talking about this for some time, following RFL changes in playing structures at Super League clubs below first team, which had changed the landscape at Championship One level.
He went on: “Salford, like us, are keen to see their players coming to Oldham on a relatively long-term basis, rather than on short-term agreements, as this will assist both clubs in their planning.
“We have discussed this with the players who are already at Oldham.
“Scott and I have talked at length about this partnership, and how it will operate, and Salford shared the same thoughts and views.
“In fact, Scott’s appointment at Oldham was a plus factor for them, given that he had played and worked at The Willows for several years. They know his strengths and the type of coach he is.
“Unlike a lot of clubs outside Super League we have invested heavily in player development over the years and we have a fantastic track record of home-grown players moving up through the ranks and establishing themselves in the first team.
“Far from diminishing that player development, the partnership will augment the work we have done, often unrecognised, over the years.”
Reds’ director of football Steve Simms was equally upbeat.
He said: “Oldham is a forward-looking club, based in a strong rugby league area. Both clubs will be able to look at players who might ordinarily not have forced their way to the front so quickly.
“Our brightest youngsters will get valuable game time at Oldham and this will allow us to assess their progress before they step up to the top flight.
“We will also be looking at commercial partnerships that will benefit both clubs.”
Oldham’s seat season-ticket holders who wish to keep the same seat in 2013 must renew by 5pm on Friday, after which those seats will go on general sale.