There's always a rivalry between Oldham and Swinton — Scott

SCOTT Naylor will be more concerned with how his team plays and how his new signings shape up than with who wins the first of three pre-season games against Swinton Lions on Sunday.

“The result isn’t important,” said the Oldham boss, of the clash at Heywood Road, Sale (3pm) which pairs the teams which won promotion from League 1 in 2015 and surprised a lot of pundits by both doing enough to retain their Championship status last season.

He added: “Having said that, there’s always rivalry between Oldham and Swinton and I’m sure that will show through on Sunday.”

Both clubs have invested heavily in new players for 2017, the Lions signing forwards Matt Gardner, Matt Sarsfield, Anthony Bate, Oliver Davies and Josh Houghton and backs Chris Hankinson, Grant Gore and Jack Murphy.

Hankinson, a centre or stand-off, was Barrow’s 2016 player of the year while on loan at Craven Park from Leigh.

Half-back Gore (Whitehaven) and full-back Murphy (Workington) played in the Championship last season, both with relegated strugglers.

Five of Oldham’s six new boys — Adam Neal, George Tyson, Dave Hewitt, Ben Davies and Scott Leatherbarrow — are expected to be given a run on Sunday, but Nathan Chappell is still recovering from a knee operation.

Danny Grimshaw, who has had groin surgery, will also be given another week, at least, to prove his fitness.

Said Naylor: “In a game like this one, there are things that are more important than the result.

“First games after a close-season break are always a bit weird and its all about getting the lads back into the old routine and back into contact situations.

“Both Swinton and ourselves did well to stay up last year, but we’ll both be striving to do even better this time round.”

Sunday’s gate will be shared with admission fixed at £12 adults and £10 concessions, sit or stand.

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