Naylor gets his man

Date published: Friday, July 12, 2013
OLDHAM have moved quickly to snap up a young player whom Scott Naylor believes will have a big part to play in the Roughyeds’ promotion push.

Tom Whitehead (21), formerly with Saddleworth Rangers under-18s and Salford City Reds, has signed a Roughyeds contract to November 30.

If paper-work formalities with the RFL are completed in time, Whitehead will play for the under-20s at Whitebank tonight (7.30 kick off), probably at full-back.

He recently returned home to Oldham after a spell in Australia — and as soon as Naylor heard he was back he set the ball rolling.

The Roughyeds boss is keen to give him as much game time as he can as quickly as he can, given that there are only five games left in the regular season.

Said Naylor: “I tried to sign him shortly after I came to Oldham, but he was heading for Australia with some other young players from this area.

“He’s back now for family reasons, and he has decided to stay.

“I’m delighted we’ve got him. He’s a very good player who can play extremely well in four different positions — full-back, stand-off, hooker and loose-forward.

“I want to see him in action for the under-20s tonight, against his former club, Salford, because I want to get him in tip-top condition as quickly as we can.

“I know him from his time at Salford and so does ‘Spanner’ (assistant coach Lee Spencer).”

Interestingly, Whitehead was once in a Saddleworth under-18s side coached by Phil Costin, who is now the under-20s coach at Whitebank.

They reached the semi-final of the National Youth Cup, after which Whitehead was taken to Salford by Spencer, now one of his new bosses at Whitebank.

Costin will pick from 20 for tonight’s game, including Whitehead and a dual-reg winger from Salford, Dan Brotherton, who played for the Roughyeds’ senior side on a similar arrangement in a 36-32 win in Neath last month.

Under-20s (from): Whitehead, Ward, Wilson, Ravencroft, Brotherton, Fitzsimmons, Singleton, Hall, Ball, Rasool, Hughes, Hargreaves, Bradley, A Joy, R Joy, Wareing, Sargeant, Parsonage, Whitfield, Foreman.

* Oldham’s final game of the regular season against Rochdale Hornets at Spotland on Thursday, August 15 will kick-off at 7pm, half an hour earlier than originally scheduled. The game will be televised live by Premier Sports.