AHEAD of tonight’s (Tuesday, December 4) public forum at the Vestacare Stadium, Oldham have announced a second pre-season warm-up at Swinton Lions on Sunday, January 27 (3pm kick-off).
Roughyeds go to Barrow on Sunday, January 13 before taking on the Lions at Heywood Road a fortnight later in the first clash of these derby rivals since a Championship Shield game on September 10, 2017 which Swinton won 29-6 to stay in the second-tier and send Roughyeds down.
That game was also played at Heywood Road in Sale where Scott Naylor’s new-look squad will be keen to put on a performance that erases thr bad memories of Oldham’s last visit.
The Lions finished bottom of the Championship in 2018, but kept their place thanks to a restructuring of the divisions and a home win against Workington Town of Betfred League 1 in an inter-divisional play-off to determine whether the Lions dropped down or the Cumbrians moved up.
“All the Swinton boys, and especially coach Stuart Littler, deserve a lot of credit for managing to stay up,” said Naylor.
“Having already been to Barrow, we’ll be glad to be closer to home in this one, but the Lions will be ready for us, you can be sure of that.
“We’ll be going over there to play some good rugby and hopefully to get out of it what we want to get out of it.
“That’s what these pre-season games are all about and this one will be no different.
“It’s an important game because you would say Swinton are our second closest rivals after Rochdale.”
It will be a memorable occasion for new Oldham signing Richie Hawkyard, who had eight seasons in the Lions den before leaving for Keighley and ultimately arriving at the Vestacare Stadium early this close season.
Admission prices will be £14 adults, £10 concessions and £3 under-16s.
Swinton chairman Andy Mazey’s first game as new Lions chief was the one that kept his side in the Championship at Oldham’s expense.
“It was a good start for me and I remember it well,” he said.
“We just managed to stay in the Championship last season, but next year we’ll be hoping to do it without the help of restructuring.
“This Oldham game came about because I hadn’t seen Chris Hamilton (Oldham chairman) for a while because of his heart surgery, so we met up for a coffee to talk about our clubs and this intriguing fixture came up as a result of our chat.
“Oldham are looking strong after all the signings they’ve made and we’ve done some good business as well to land Gavin Bennion from Salford, Rob Fairclough from St Helens and two from Rochdale, Billy Brickhill and Lewis Hatton.”
Tonight’s open meeting of fans at the Vestacare Stadium starts at 7pm.
It will be headed by Julie Collins, an Oldham fan who has her own marketing company and is eager to lead Roughyeds down a similar route to that taken so superbly by York City Knights in the past 18 months.
It’s an event not to be missed by Roughyeds fans who have the club at heart and wish to see it progress in these difficult times for so many clubs at this level.