OLDHAM RL chairman Chris Hamilton has issued a rallying call to fans ahead of tomorrow night’s (Wed) big game against Bradford Bulls at Bower Fold, which kicks off at 8pm.
‘We need you as never before’ is the gist of his plea in the wake of five Championship defeats in a row and a public apology by coach Scott Naylor for his team’s poor performance in a 46-10 loss at Dewsbury Rams on Sunday.
Having won promotion from League One at the end of last season, Roughyeds are currently second bottom in the Championship with eight points — four more than rock-bottom Workington Town.
Sheffield Eagles, who went full time this year, are third bottom with 10 points, then come Whitehaven on 11, Swinton Lions on 12 and Dewsbury Rams on 14. There is then a six-point gap separating the bottom six and the top six —- clearly two divisions within one.
Naylor’s men have still to play Workington, Whitehaven and Swinton at Bower Fold in the regular season and they will then be playing them again, home or away, in the Championship Shield.
Overall, Roughyeds still have 14 games to play, four of them at Bower Fold in the Championship and another three or four — probably three — in the Championship Shield.
Said Hamilton: “There’s still a long way to go and a lot of points to fight for. We are battling for Championship survival and our supporters have a huge part to play to help us to get over the line.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries and a few things going against us on the pitch, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that we always knew how much of a struggle it would be in our first season at this level. Long before the start of the season both Scott and I said publicly that it would be a vastly different scenario than the one we had experienced for several years in League One.
“It’s a massive leap and our stated aim was always the realistic one — to win as many games as possible, obviously, but to see success as Championship survival.
“You’ll never find us complaining about how hard it is because it’s where we want to be and it took us a long time to get here. We want to stay, but with that in mind we’ve all got to be mentally strong in times of adversity and stick together so that we can emerge from a bad spell as quickly as possible.
“We are not alone in this. Clubs that have been in this division for years, and certainly a lot longer than us, are facing the same uphill battles and we all need our supporters to stick with us in the difficult times as well as the good ones. And I think it’s fair to say we’ve had a few of those this season as well.
“In this division it is very, very hard to get results consistently, but we have to stay strong, stick together and hope we get players back from injury as quickly as possible, which we seem to be doing at the moment.
“We all know the game against the Bulls will be another tough one, but coaching staff and players will be doing their utmost in their first appearance on home soil for several weeks.
“Bradford will have big support and it will be of great encouragement to our lads — not just for this game, but for other crucial matches that have still to come — if they can see, and hear, that they have lots of backing too.”
* The club ‘shop’ at Bower Fold will be situated at main reception and not in its usual position near the social club. This is for the Bradford game only.