SCOTT Naylor is targeting a mid-table finish for Oldham in next year’s KP Championship.
With Hull KR, Rochdale Hornets and Toulouse Olympique replacing Leigh Centurions, Whitehaven and Workington, the division is expected to be even tougher and more competitive than it was this year.
Delighted though he was to finish 10th — just above the relegated bottom two — the ambitious Roughyeds boss is aiming for a seventh or eighth-place finish in 2017.
Speaking at the club’s end-of-season awards dinner, Naylor said: “Just to stay in the division at the first attempt was a bigger achievement than winning promotion from League 1.
“The season was a huge success. But I’m never happy. I always want more.
“If I’d been offered third bottom at the start of last season I would have snatched their hand off. But next season has to be better. We have to finish seventh or eighth.
“We are used to this division now. We know what’s coming. A lot of us will be in our fifth season together and we are getting better.
“As long as we keep on doing what we are doing we will keep getting better. That’s what we all want; that’s why I am here. I want to be in this game to make a difference.
“If the staff gets better and the players get better, the club gets better.
“I’ve spent five years at each of my three clubs and I want to be remembered for making a difference.
“Four years ago. when I came here, we were seventh in League 1 and now we are aiming to finish seventh in the Championship next year. That’s how far we have come.
“I was an average player. I want to be a good coach.”
He thanked his backroom team for their hard work and devotion and spoke highly of the contribution from his right-hand men and assistant coaches Lee Spencer and Peter Carey.
He said Spencer and Carey were their own men and the three of them often differed in opinion.
Added Naylor: “They took a lot of pressure off me, but they don’t hesitate to tell me when they think I’m wrong. We have a mix of opinions and ideas but collectively we seem to come up with the right answers.
“As player and coach this was my hardest-ever season. The players are everything. They are the reason we stayed up. They give 100 per cent and this season particularly they’ve been fantastic. They’ve done an amazing job.
“We demand a lot of our part-time players in a tough environment and I have to thank their families for all the support they get at home.
“To all wives, partners and girl friends I say: ‘Thanks for giving me your fellas !’
“A massive thank-you also to our wonderful fans. The ORSA (Oldham Roughyeds Supporters Associaion) people are amazing. I find it hard to put into words how appreciative we are of all they do.
“Supporters generally do us proud. Wherever we play we always hear our fans above home supporters. We know they’ll be there for us and it means the world to us . . . they’re absolutely amazing.”