“Thompo” hopes it will be third time lucky

Date published: Thursday, November 20, 2014

LIAM Thompson, defined as a “real grafter” by coach Scott Naylor, is hoping his luck will change in his third season at Whitebank.

Still only 22, the former England Schoolboys’ loose-forward, has signed a new one-year deal to become the latest member of Naylor’s Oldham class of 2015.
In each of his first two seasons with the club, Thompson has had to fight back from injury —  a dodgy shoulder which delayed his debut in 2013 for several weeks and a shattered cheekbone early in 2014 which sidelined him for three months.
“That was a massive blow for me,” recalled Thompson, a third-year sports science student at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.
“It happened in the second game of the season at home to Hemel. I clashed heads with Kenny Hughes, broke my cheekbone in three places and needed an operation.
“I missed a large slice of the season and even when I got back into the side it took me a while to get back to my best.
“Hopefully, 2015 will be third year lucky.”
Naylor has high hopes of this former Wigan Warriors and Widnes Vikings academy forward, who was in the same Vikings reserve team as Josh Crowley before the then newly-appointed Oldham boss brought them both to Whitebank.
Said Naylor: “Despite his bad luck with injuries, he’s improving each year and I’ve no doubt that he will again raise the bar in League One.
“He’s the typical unsung hero. He does a lot of stuff the fans don’t see while doing a job that coaches appreciate more than anyone else.
“He contributes massively in a different way to many of the other players, but he is no less valued because of that.
“What you see is what you get from ‘Thompo’ — a real grafter who just gets on with the job. It’s only when he isn’t there that his real value to the side is most appreciated.”
Thompson believes the restructuring of the game from Super League downwards will provide fans of third-tier clubs with a hugely-improved competition and significantly higher standards throughout the 14-club division.
Traditional clubs such as Rochdale, Keighley, Barrow, Swinton and York will all be visiting Whitebank in a league campaign of 22 games.
Said Thompson: “It’s going to be a huge challenge, but its one all the Oldham boys are looking forward to.
“In playing standards and intensity it will be similar to a Championship division and I’m keen to test myself at that level and in that sort of company.”