THE first of Oldham RL Club’s three pre-season games will be against Swinton Lions at Heywood Road, Sale on Sunday, January 8 (kick-off 3pm).
Roughyeds had previously announced that they will go to Barrow on January 15 (2pm) and entertain Rochdale Hornets at Bower Fold for the Law Cup on January 22 (3pm).
The season proper — the ‘new’ Oldham club’s 20th campaign since it was launched in time for the 1998 season — opens up with the visit of Sheffield Eagles to Bower Fold on Sunday, February 5 (3pm).
Announcing the Swinton warm-up game, Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton said he was pleased to get it fixed up because Roughyeds had always wanted three outings before curtain-up in the Championship.
He added: “Originally, we were going to play Huddersfield Giants on January 8, but in the end they couldn’t make it, so I spoke to John Roddy (Swinton chairman) and it suited both our clubs to play on January 8.
“It will be another piece in the jig-saw in terms of our preparation for what promises to be a challenging and exciting season.
“Scott Naylor (head coach) wanted a demanding set of warm-up games and by going up against two teams from our division (Swinton and Rochdale), plus Barrow away, we know we’ll be given a severe examination.
“They are games that will stand us in good stead for our Championship opener at Bower Fold on February 5.”
Admission at Heywood Road, Sale on January 8 will cost £12 adults and £10 concessions, sit or stand all one price.
Rochdale boss Alan Kilshaw, meanwhile, has described Hornets’ rivalry with Oldham as one of the fiercest in rugby league.
Roughyeds retained the Law Cup with a 29-12 win at Rochdale last year, but Kilshaw says his side will give a much better account of themselves in their first-ever game at Bower Fold, where they will probably field former Oldham men in Jack Holmes, Lewis Palfrey, Josh Crowley and Gary Middlehurst.
Kilshaw added: “Oldham are a quality outfit. I thank officials of both clubs for getting the game on. It’s going to be a big one.”
Hornets chairman Mark Wynn said: “Rochdale and Oldham are both in tier-two of the rugby league pyramid for the first time in more than a decade. The standard will be incredibly high.”
Oldham fans have until November 30 to buy season tickets with three staged payments in November, December and January. To buy on line or for more information go to our secure, dedicated payment site.