Staying up the aim — NaylorDate published: Tuesday, December 22, 2015
IF Scott Naylor’s long-term plans for Oldham RL Club are to be achieved, the Roughyeds boss accepts that promotion in 2015 must be followed by Championship consolidation in 2016.
It’s nine seasons since Oldham last played in rugby league’s second tier and Naylor is under no illusions about the size of the task ahead in a division containing several full-time clubs and with huge differences in the amount of money clubs get from the allocation of central funds.
With two years remaining on his current three-year contract, his immediate objective is to stay up in his squad’s first crack at Championship rugby and then to build from there, seeing the club grow in stature over a period of years.
Describing the accumulation of enough points to avoid a quick return to League One as a “huge challenge”, the 2015 League One coach of the year said: “It’s going to be difficult, but that’s the target obviously.
“That’s the task in front of us. We want to put Oldham back to where they used to be and we start that process by staying in the Championship and then improving year on year.
“This is the start of a big challenge and we’re looking forward to it. It’s exciting.
“We’re looking forward to playing the full-time clubs (Bradford Bulls, London Broncos, Leigh Centurions, Sheffield Eagles) who are striving to get into Super League as quickly as possible and we’ll give 100 per cent against them, although they’re not the teams we’ll be targeting.
“There’s a vast difference between the money they’re spending and the money we’re spending and over the course of a long season that differential will ensure that the clubs with the most money to spend will finish near the top.”
With 21 contracted players (plus the buffer of a dual-reg link with Huddersfield Giants), Naylor is happy to bide his time on additional recruitment.
He has brought in forwards Jack Spencer and Craig Briscoe, half-back Danny Grimshaw and winger Jamel Chisholm as well as securing the full transfer of centre Jon Ford from Salford.
Utility forward Will Hope, who starred for Ireland in autumn internationals against France, Scotland and Wales, is effectively a new player too, given that he played only a handful of games at the end of last season as a deadline-day signing.
“Another player, possibly two, would be nice but I usually set off with a smallish squad to leave room for later additions,” said Naylor.
“I don’t like having a full squad too soon. I like being in a position to top up when a player comes along who is right for the club and right for the squad.
“Finance also dictates these things, but it’s good to have room for manoeuvre because available players usually appear from nowhere for different reasons when the season has been up and running for a bit.”
Season tickets can be bought at Whitebank up to 5pm today and tomorrow and from 9am to noon on Thursday.