Scott plans to bolster squad

Date published: Thursday, February 7, 2013

SCOTT Naylor plans to bolster his Oldham RL squad with at least one more new signing before the start of the season proper in little more than three weeks.

It might even stretch to two, given that Chris Murphy has left the club and that David Cookson and Liam Thompson will not be available for the first few games.

Utility back Murphy (23), who was due to start his second season at Whitebank, has found it increasingly difficult to juggle his Roughyeds commitments with those of university study and part-time work and has decided to put rugby league on hold, at least for the time being.
Said Naylor: “He was honest and up front with me, and I respect his decision. There’s only so much these young fellows can do and in Chris’s case he felt it necessary to look at his priorities.
“Sunday’s warm-up game against Salford will provide us with a better picture of where we stand and where we might need to strengthen, but I’m hoping to bring somebody else in before we go to North Wales Crusaders on March 3, and I might be aiming for two.”
Centre Cookson’s RFL ban ends on February 28, but he has not been allowed to take part in pre-season training so it will take him a week or two to catch up.
Loose-forward Thompson is working his way back to full fitness after a shoulder operation, but he won’t be ready to play for a few weeks either.
A torn cartilage in his left shoulder has been repaired, but it will take time, and a lot of hard work on his rehab programme, before he is able to attempt full-contact training.
He said: “I’m keeping up my cardiovascular work on bike and rowing machine, but I still need to build up the strength in the shoulder before I can even think about full contact.
“It’s no big deal. It was standard shoulder surgery like loads of players have, but it is important that I do the right things and don’t try to come back too soon.”
Naylor will have 20 players available for Sunday’s first pre-season work-out at Whitebank (3pm) against a Salford City Reds  squad comprising those senior players who are not required for the Super League game at Catalan Dragons plus fringe players and leading youngsters.
Thompson apart, all Oldham’s new signings are expected to play as well as the four who have been promoted from the reserves on contract, namely Phil Joy, Steven Nield, Danny Langtree and Kenny Hughes.