Pat on the back for resilient CrowleyDate published: Wednesday, August 26, 2015
SCOTT Naylor has hailed the “resilience and consistency” of Josh Crowley in going nearly three full seasons at Oldham without missing a single game.
He’s the only ever-present across 25 cup and league games so far this year, taking his appearance stats to 74 out of 74, going all the way back to his Roughyeds debut in a Northern Rail Cup tie at North Wales Crusaders on March 3, 2013.
“I spoke of his phenomenal work rate after the Barrow game, but his durability isn’t so bad either,” said the Oldham boss, of the 23-year-old former Warrington and Widnes youngster, whose career was at the crossroads when Widnes released him and he quickly became Naylor’s first signing for the Roughyeds.
He played in all 24 games in 2013, all 25 in 2014 and this year he’s within a minimum of three games and a maximum of five of a 100 per cent appearance record in three consecutive seasons.
With the support and financial backing of owner and club chairman Chris Hamilton, Naylor and his No 2 Lee Spencer have worked wonders this season in putting together and supervising a squad that has taken League One by storm.
Relative new boys like Adam Clay, Adam Neal, George Tyson, Gareth Owen and Jack Holmes have been to the fore, but so have no fewer than 11 of Naylor’s ‘originals’ who have been with him since he first walked into Whitebank in the autumn of 2012.
Crowley arrived first, to be quickly followed by Liam Thompson, Sammy Gee, Lewis Palfrey, Richard Lepori and two on-loan youngsters from Salford in Jon Ford and Adam Files.
Reserve-team youngsters who were busting a gut to be given a senior chance, but hitherto had been kept in the background, didn’t have long to wait once Naylor and Spencer got their feet under the table.
Danny Langtree, Phil Joy, Kenny Hughes, Michael Ward and Steven Nield were quickly elevated to senior status and have never looked back.
The ‘originals’ still form the backbone of a side that has lost only one of the last 26 normal league games at Whitebank, stretching back to April, 2013.
To underpin the consistency and stability of Naylor’s regime, seven of his men from year one have played in 60 or more of the 74 games under his command, namely Crowley (74), Langtree (69), Joy (69), Palfrey (68), Ward (67), Hughes (62) and Gee (60).
Naylor has worked hard to develop team spirit and comradeship in the Oldham dressing room and that united front will form a key element of the side’s psyche when they clash with Swinton Lions at Whitebank on Sunday week (September 6) in arguably the biggest and most important league game in the last three years.
Swinton have won eight games in a row, Oldham 11 so something will have to give on the day Roughyeds can get within touching distance of finishing as league leaders with the advantages that provides in terms of going on and clinching promotion.
* Oldham are offering special hospitality-suite rates for the big game, priced at £15 for season-ticket holders and £25 for other fans, this to include match admission.
Also included will be pre-match food, match programme, a chance to win a signed ball and shirt, pre-match interviews with Chris Hamilton and Scott Naylor, post-match chat with man-of-the-match and champagne-moment winners.
To book, or for more information, ring the office on 0161 624 9630, ext 70552.