Roughyeds out to strengthen

Date published: Tuesday, January 21, 2014
OLDHAM RL Club are stepping up their efforts to add to a squad which coach Scott Naylor believes is already stronger than the one which finished second in Championship One last season.
Several lines of inquiry have been pursued over the last few weeks, Naylor having set his sights on at least two and ideally three new additions before the start of the league campaign at the beginning of March.
A key factor will be the outcome of talks with Super League club Salford, with whom Roughyeds were partnered last season as part of the RFL’s dual-registration policies.
Said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton: “For a while now we have been working hard behind the scenes to make more signings.
“Some negotiations are taking a lot longer than we would have liked, while other inquiries have taken a while to move in the direction of completion because we have to make sure we get players of the right quality.
“Fans can be assured, however, that we know the areas we need to strengthen and we are working hard to make it happen.
“We are also waiting to see what happens in terms of our link-up with Salford.”
Naylor, half way through a two-year contract as head coach, built a new team virtually from scratch on his arrival at Whitebank in the autumn of 2012.
In his first season at the club his new squad was good enough to finish second with 41 points from a possible 48 and with the best away record in the division —- seven wins from eight games on the road.
Over the season as a whole Naylor’s men deserved better than to lose twice in the play-offs to a Rochdale side that finished nine points behind them in the league, but lifted the ultimate prize of promotion.
With the start of his second year at Oldham rapidly approaching (the first warm-up game at Barrow is a week on Sunday), Naylor is happy with the quality of the squad he has assembled so far, but recognises the need for more depth.
Despite the loss of full-back Richard Lepori, who is heading Down Under to sample life in Australia, and Rochdale-bound prop Liam Gilchrist, the Roughyeds boss believes he has more overall quality at his disposal this time round.
“We are a little bit short on numbers though, and there are a couple of areas we need to strengthen in terms of providing cover and giving me the back-up to rotate,” he explained.
“I’m trying to use my contacts in the game to bring in two or three new men of a quality which would top us up numerically and also give us a really strong squad.”