HEAD coach Scott Naylor and conditioner Adam Neal say Roughyeds owe a debt of gratitude to Andy Hibbert and his staff at The Strength Factory gym in Westhoughton where the squad has been working out by invitation.
The connection lies in Neal’s friendship with Hibbert, who owns The Strength Factory and heads a strength, conditioning and rehab team of five which includes his sister Aimee, a former massage and rehab assistant with Rochdale Hornets.
Highly-qualified Hibbert, who grew up in Chadderton, mentored Neal in the Oldham prop’s early days as a personal trainer at Pro-Fit and they have remained firm friends ever since.
Roughyeds have had two tough sessions already at the Westhoughton gym and there are plans to have at least one more there before the start of the League 1 campaign in mid-February.
Neal, doubling up for the first time this year as prop and head conditioner, said: “It’s important, for a few reasons, to have an alternative training facility for occasional use and we owe a massive thanks to Andy and The Strength Factory for coming to our aid.
“In providing us with first-class facilities for general conditioning and strong-man work, they’re doing us a massive favour and it’s one we really appreciate. It’s awesome.
“When we go over there it’s a different challenge for the boys and it makes training more interesting and more varied.
“Andy has even introduced us to a big hill in Westhoughton — you can see it off the M61 — and that was a great challenge for the lads although I’m not sure they would have described it in such glowing terms !”
Head coach Naylor said: “The Strength Factory team look after us brilliantly and I can’t speak too highly of what they do for us.
“We have fantastic sessions over there and the lads thoroughly enjoy them.”
Opened in 2015 and situated on Manchester Road, Westhoughton, Bolton (BL5 3QH), just off the M61, The Strength Factory specialises in body-building and strength-gain.
Said Hibbert: “We inspire every person who walks through the door to achieve their goals. By continuing to study and do research we like to think we keep ahead of the game and provide the best ways to get results.
“I helped Adam (Neal) in the early days and when he contacted me about Oldham RLFC and its needs I was 100 per cent happy to help.
“As a Chadderton lad, the club was close to my heart in any case.
“We have what it needs to make the players fitter and stronger. I want to do what I can for them and it makes my job a lot easier when I’m dealing with a group of lads who are highly motivated, as Adam’s boys most certainly are.”
Oldham’s new-look squad will be unveiled for the first time in the Law Cup clash against derby rivals Rochdale Hornets at the Crown Oil Arena on Sunday, January 7 (kick-off 3pm).