PROP Phil Joy has followed the lead set by his fellow front-rower Adam Neal in signing a new deal with Oldham for 2018.
Having missed all but four games in 2017 because of a serious shoulder injury, the 26-year-old says his rehab after surgery is going well and he expects to be fully fit and ready to go by the start of next year’s Kingstone Press League 1 campaign.
In announcing that one-club man Joy had signed a new one-year contract, chairman Chris Hamilton said: “Phil was a very big miss in the season that’s just ended. He’s Oldham through and through and he was very keen to put his hand up to be with us again next year.
“Come the start of pre-season training he’ll be raring to go with the rest of them.”
Joy’s ill-fated 2017 season started to go disastrously wrong when he dislocated his left shoulder in only the third game of the season against London Broncos at Bower Fold last February.
In his own words, he took a chance when he returned to the side against Batley Bulldogs three months later, but the joint dislocated a second time, after which he had major surgery at Wilmslow Hospital and accepted that his season was over only half way through.
He said: “I’ve still a lot of rehab and prep work to do during the off-season, but it’s going to plan and with a full pre-season ahead of me I should be ready for the start of next year.
“While I was laid up, I watched every game apart from London away just to give the boys a bit of moral support.
“In reality though I switched-off mentally because that was the way I could best deal with being out for so long.
“Now, I’ve got to get switched-on again. After relegation, we’ve got to bounce back. It will be tough because there are some good sides in League 1 so we know we’ve got to be switched-on from the start with the aim of getting straight back up.”
Joy, who first signed for his home-town club eight years ago as a teenager, spent two seasons in the reserves before breaking into the senior side and making the open-side prop position his own. He has made 116 first-team appearances to date.
More signings are expected to be announced before the end of the week.