New boys settling in wellDate published: Friday, December 18, 2015
THE four new faces in Oldham RL Club’s 21-strong squad are expected to be unveiled in the first of the three warm-up games at Keighley on January 10.
Forwards Craig Briscoe and Jack Spencer, half-back Danny Grimshaw and winger Jamel Chisholm have been training hard and are settling into the Roughyeds’ systems, said head coach Scott Naylor.
There are five new signings, in fact, but only four new faces, given that Jon Ford is now a fully-fledged Oldham player after appearing on and off for the past three seasons either on loan or dual-reg from Salford City Reds.
“We’ve been training for a few weeks and the new guys have slotted in well,” said Naylor. “They’re getting used to us now; used to how we do things; used to who we are; and used to the demands we make on the players in pre-season work.
“We’ve had a lot of good sessions in which Kane Daniels (head conditioner) has been very tough on them.
“Everyone seems to be enjoying it though . . . that is, as well as any player does enjoy hard graft when there’s no game at the end of the week and not a rugby ball in sight.”
In such a physically robust environment Naylor believes it is inevitable that players will pick up slight knocks, pulls and strains so he isn’t concerned that Danny Langtree, Liam Thompson and Kenny Hughes are currently nursing injuries of that nature.
He added: “When you take pre-season work to the levels demanded by Kane there will always be niggling knocks, but none of them is serious and the players in question should be right in about a week.
“We’ll have to monitor Adam Clay, after his ankle operation, but everyone else will probably get a run at Keighley, including the new lads.
“I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed since we reported back for training last month. Christmas is suddenly upon us and then we’re more or less straight into our programme of warm-up games.”
Clay, the club’s top try scorer last season with 21 in 23 games, goes back to see his surgeon in February, but his comeback is on schedule. He is back in full training and is said to be “coming along nicely”.
Naylor will talk to Huddersfield Giants boss Paul Anderson, as soon as Christmas is over, to plan a dual-reg strategy for pre-season games, but the Super League club also has warm-up games on January 17, when Roughyeds go to Rochdale, and on January 24 when they play at Barrow and these Giants commitments could have a bearing on what they can offer.
From the squad that won League One last season, Naylor has lost Sheffield Eagles-bound pair Adam Neal and George Tyson, but has strengthened wisely with the recruitment of Spencer, Briscoe, Grimshaw and Chisholm.
Tom Dempsey, Richard Joy, Steven Nield (long-term injury) and on-loan men David Hewitt and Elliott Liku are no longer at the club, but they made only 32 appearances in total, an average of little more than six apiece.
It’s felt that Spencer, who has played in France and in Championship rugby with Barrow and Halifax, will do a similar front-row job to that performed so well by Neal last season.
Fans are advised that the biggest discounts on season tickets are available only to December 23, either from Whitebank (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 1.30pm) or by post to Oldham RLFC, Whitebank Stadium, Whitebank Rd, Oldham OL8 3JH (tel: 07904898177).