Now Joy puts pen to paperDate published: Friday, October 2, 2015
SCOTT Naylor’s pledge to take promoted Oldham up to the Championship with most of the players who have been with him at Whitebank for the past three seasons continues to take shape.
Phil Joy is the latest of his ‘originals’ to agree terms and sign a new contract for the higher division, following the lead set by Lewis Palfrey, Danny Langtree and Josh Crowley.
Of that long-serving quartet, Crowley and Palfrey were among Naylor’s early signings, while Joy and Langtree were already at the club when the new boss arrived, but still languishing in the reserves and desperate to be given an extended run at senior level.
Each had played only twice in the first team, but Naylor monitored their progress throughout his first pre-season and then threw them straight in at the deep end, Joy aged 21, Langtree just a fortnight after his 22nd birthday.
Neither has taken a backward step since, while all four have earned Naylor’s seal of approval on the three-year journey to promotion by playing in nearly every game — Crowley 77 out of 77, Joy 72, Langtree 71 and Palfrey 70.
Commenting on prop-forward Joy’s decision to remain loyal to his home-town club, Naylor said: “He’s gone from a reserve team player at a League One club to a Championship prop inside three years. That’s a long way in a short time.
“He’s done it because he’s worked on his game; worked hard in training; and gone about things on and off the field like any good pro who wants to progress up the ladder. He deserves all the credit he gets.
“He’s always asking questions because he’s seeking answers about how to improve his game. It’s a pleasure to have him at the club.”
In a fantastic 2015 League One campaign, Oldham won 19 of their 22 games, losing in three of their first four clashes against teams which had come down from the Championship the year before.
Said Joy: “Those games were more intense and at first we came up a bit short. We sat down with Scott and ‘Spanner’ (his No 2 Lee Spencer) to work out what we needed to do to control these games. We won at Swinton in the next one and took a lot of confidence from that.
“Once we had adapted, it brought out the best in us and I think that will happen again in the Championship next year.”
Roughyeds didn’t lose again, finishing with seven wins from ten outings against the five 2014 Championship teams and recording home-and-away doubles against Rochdale and Swinton.
Now down to 16st 10lbs, Joy shed surplus weight to increase his mobility and general fitness and to enable him to have extra game time.
He added: “Like all the lads, I’m looking forward to testing myself at the higher level.
“We’ve a lot of hard work ahead of us, but if we keep most of the squad together, which Scott plans to do, I think we’ll do okay.”