OLDHAM RL chairman Chris Hamilton has revealed that he is talking with Stalybridge Celtic about staying at Bower Fold next season.
“If we are still in the Championship — we’re almost there, touch wood — there is a strong possibility that we’ll be back at Bower Fold in 2017,” he told Radio Manchester listeners last night.
“We like it there and the feedback from fans is that they like it too.”
Roughyeds are five points outside the bottom two with three to play, but he said the club was geared to pick up more points rather than relying on Whitehaven and Workington to do them favours.
“We don’t want to limp over the line,” he added.
Looking ahead to next season, he said Roughyeds would be aiming to be well away from a relegation battle and looking to establish themselves around mid-table.
He went on: “On and off the field it’s a massive leap from League One, but we’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way.
“The bottom five Championship clubs get £150,000 from central funding, but financially it’s hard to compete with what the mid-table clubs get let alone the clubs that are up at the top.”
Leigh Centurions chief Derek Beaumont, anticipating that both Oldham and Swinton Lions will stay up, said: “Going £ for £, what these two clubs have achieved this year is equal to what we’ve done at Leigh.
“To stay up at the first attempt is massive and it hasn’t happened very often in the past.
“Chris (Hamilton) has been through hell and high water for years trying to get into the Championship and now he’s a fully-fledged member.”
Full-back Richard Lepori, who will be free to play at Halifax on Sunday (3pm), has been charged with a grade B punching offence in last Sunday’s home defeat by Sheffield Eagles. He was sent off in the 38th minute.
His case will be heard by the RFL disciplinary committee on Tuesday with the recommended sanction a suspension of one to two games.
Phil Joy, Will Hope, Kenny Hughes and Scott Turner, who didn’t play against Sheffield, will be back in the running for places at The Shay but there will be no James Mendeika.
The Bradford Bulls man, on short term loan until the end of the season, has picked up an injury in training and is still waiting for his Oldham debut.
Looking ahead to the three games that will drop the curtain on Oldham’ s first Championship season —- Halifax (away), Whitehaven (home), Dewsbury (away) — coach Scott Naylor said: “It would be nice to finish with three good performances.
“It will be tough at The Shay, but the Sheffield game wasn’t a fair reflection of how we can play.”
Naylor has welcomed young Castleford centre Kieran Gill’s decision to stay with Roughyeds in 2017 on season-long loan.
He said: “He’s a great lad, a credit to Castleford, and I can only see him succeeding in the game. He’s easily gone from academy rugby to our level — no mean feat — and I’m sure he’ll get better and better.”