OLDHAM will play an unprecedented FOURTH pre-season friendly with the visit to the Vestacare Stadium of big-spenders Newcastle Thunder on Sunday, February 3, kick-off 3pm.
Admission prices will be slashed with under-16s going in FREE.
Other prices will be £10 (adults) and £8 concessions with the usual £2 upgrade for a seat.
The full pre-season programme now reads like this:
Sunday, January 13: Barrow Raiders (away), 3pm.
Sunday, January 20: Rochdale Hornets (home), 3pm.
Sunday, January 27: Swinton Lions (away), 3pm
Sunday, February: Newcastle Thunder (home), 3pm.
With the financial backing of Newcastle Falcons, Thunder have stated publicly that 2019 will be the season for their big push for promotion.
They hit the headlines when announcing that Wakefield Trinity’s Liam Finn, a half-back with 400 first-class games on his CV, had signed to play for them in 2019 while retaining a coaching role at Belle Vue.
Since then, they’ve re-signed French international half-back Remi Marginet and added more new recruits to their squad, including Misi Taulapapa and Keal Carlile from Featherstone Rovers, Kieran Gill (remember him ?) from Castleford Tigers and Jy-Mel Coleman from London Skolars.
Taulapapa is a Samoan international centre, while Carlile is an experienced hooker.
Centre Gill, always a favourite of the home crowd when on loan here, has moved north on a season-long loan in much the same way that Lee Kershaw has re-joined Roughyeds from Wakefield on a season-long arrangement.
Jy-Mel Coleman, younger brother of Skolars coach Jermaine Coleman, will become one of Thunder’s many on-field leaders, headed by Finn with Marginet a close second.
Said Oldham coach Scott Naylor:
“Thunder are among the favourites to finish top because of the money they’ve spent.
“It will be anything but a friendly and it will provide both teams with an opportunity to look at each other before we start the real thing.
“We were keen to play Barrow and then our two derby rivals, Rochdale and Swinton, but that meant we had to start early because the Championship starts a fortnight sooner than League 1.
“I wanted a run of tough games and they don’t come much tougher than playing Championship sides like Barrow, Rochdale and Swinton on successive Sundays.
“There will be added spice about the Hornets game because the Law Cup is at stake and we’ll be defending it.
“Had we left it at those three we would have had two blank Sundays before the start of our league programme against Workington Town on February 17 and I think that’s too long without a game.
“One blank Sunday is about right and that’s what we’ve got now that Thunder are coming down on the first Sunday in February.
“We kick-off the league programme with games against Workington and then Whitehaven, so I wanted a really tough pre-season run of games to get us used to playing regularly and consistently at that level.
“The thinking behind that is that, hopefully, we’ll rise to the challenge in pre-season and then take that form into the league competition.”
Please be aware that tomorrow (Friday) is the last chance to buy season tickets at discounted prices.
The Roughyeds office inside the Vestacare Stadium will be open from 10am to 3pm but you can also pay online via the Roughyeds online store where you will find full details of prices etc.
If you are buying at the office it’s cash or cheque only please.
Season tickets make ideal Christmas presents for regular supporters.
We really need your backing on this and your support will be truly valued.