Now Nield commits

Date published: Wednesday, October 29, 2014
OLDHAM are continuing to re-sign players from last season’s squad despite a tight budget and tough competition from rival clubs.
Latest to pen a new one-year deal is full-back Steven Nield, who joins Josh Crowley, Danny Langtree, Kenny Hughes, Steve Roper, David Cookson, new-boy Jarrod Ward and youngsters Jake Hughes, Tom Dempsey and Richard Joy on an ever-growing roster.
Several received other offers — not unexpectedly after two seasons in which Roughyeds finished second and third respectively and reached the play-off final both times — but chairman Chris Hamilton and coach Scott Naylor are working hard to repel raids from rival clubs.
Talks with other players are ongoing and, on completion of his new deal, Nield predicted that other members of last year’s squad will also opt to stay.
“From a players’ point of view, Oldham is a great club to be at,” said local lad Nield (23), who is now being rewarded for his two seasons in the reserves and his patience at first-team level in 2013 when his senior appearances were restricted to seven.
“I can’t speak for the others, but the general feeling in the camp is that most of the lads want to stick together in the hope that we can make things happen next season.
“We all get on well with each other and we have a happy dressing room with a great team spirit.
“Even after our defeat in the Grand Final we still felt close as a group and I think that tells you a lot.
“Last year I was one of the last to re-sign, but this time I wanted to get it sorted as quickly as I could so that I could start planning for next year.
“I always knew 2013 would be a tough time for me because ‘Lippy’ (Lepori), Dale (Bloomfield) and Mo (Agoro) were playing well.
“Had I been playing as well as they did I wouldn’t have expected to lose my place, so although I had to be patient I couldn’t complain.
“I had to bite the bullet, keep my head down and continue to work hard in training, but on the few times I did get in the side I felt I did enough to show I was making progress.
“Last season, when I was in regularly at full-back, I like to think I stepped up to another level and that was perhaps borne out when I was offered another contract.
“When you are playing in nearly every game you feel you are making a difference and on the back of that you gain in confidence.”
Naylor said he admired Nield for the way he stuck at it when his senior opportunities were limited in the 2013 season.
Added the Oldham boss: “He often banged on my door asking for a chance at full-back, but Richard Lepori was difficult to shift.
“It was to Steven’s credit that he kept battling away and kept working hard on trying to do the things we asked of him.
“His big chance came along in the season just ended and he took it with both hands, all the time gaining in confidence and going from strength to strength.
“I’m confident that next season he will get even better again.”