OLDHAM have promised they will go into their Law Cup clash at Rochdale tomorrow (Wed) night, 7.45pm kick-off, with all guns blazing.
Fielding several new faces, they will be revved-up to reclaim the pre-season trophy which Hornets won at Bower Fold last year.
Tonight’s training will take the form of a ‘captain’s run’ — usual practice for the last session before game day — and the squad will then be ready to go into battle some 24 hours later, said assistant coach Peter Carey.
He added: “There’s a real buzz around the place ahead of the first game of the season. All the boys are looking forward to the challenge. It’s a big game for both clubs, as are all Oldham-Rochdale derbies.
“It might be a so-called friendly, but there’s a cup at stake as well as bragging rights. It’s a really important game for rival fans too.
“We are certainly not taking it lightly. We’ll be going into the game as strong as possible and it will be good to see some of our new lads in action with us for the first time.”
Carey said he and head coach Scott Naylor were delighted with how the season’s preparations had unfolded since training began in early November.
The players had worked exceptionally hard on their fitness and stamina-building under the guidance of their new conditioner and fellow team mate Adam Neal, a fully-qualified personal trainer in his full-time employment.
He (Carey) and Naylor looked after skill drills and team work.
He added: “We’ve been able to spend a lot more time this year on field work thanks to the installation of the artificial pitch at Whitebank (now named the Vestacare Stadium).
“We’ve had backs and forwards for separate 45-minute sessions while the ones not with us have been with Adam (Neal) in the gym. We’ve then come together on the pitch for the last hour which has given us a lot more time with the ball.
“The people from Avro AFC (who now hold the lease at the stadium) have looked after us superbly and we can’t thank them enough for that.
“We’ve also been welcomed with open arms at The Strength Factory gym in Westhoughton, which means we can look back on pre-season with a great deal of satisfaction.
“We had a short break for Christmas and New Year, but we were back last Thursday night and in again on Saturday morning.
“By the time we’ve finished tonight’s captain’s run we’ll be all set for the game at Rochdale.”