AFTER a long and tough training schedule stretching back to mid-November, Roughyeds have their first pre-season hit-out at Barrow on Sunday (3pm) and according to head coach Scott Naylor the lads are chomping at the bit.
Of the new signings, Emerson Whittel is unavailable because of a long-standing arrangement that was in place before he signed for the club.
However, his fellow new boys Richie Hawkyard, Ben Calland, Scott Law, Aaron Jones-Bishop, Jamie Greenwod and Anthony Bowman are all expected to put on Oldham jerseys for the first time.
“Both physically and mentally, it’s always tough up there, but the lads have worked extremely hard in getting to this stage and now they can’t wait to get out on the field.”
It’s all pay on the gate, £10 for adults, £7 concessions and £3 for under-16s but they go FREE if accompanied by a paying adult.
Roughyeds will be travelling north without Whittel, the suspended Danny Bridge and the injured Paul Crook, Ben Davies and Danny Grimshaw, but the rest of the squad will be given a good run-out ahead of next week’s Law Cup clash with Rochdale Hornets at the Vestacare Stadium.
“We know what to expect, having been to Barrow for our first run-out for the last three or four years.
“It’s never been anything but exceptionally tough both physically and mentally and this one is going to be no different. That’s the main reason I like going up there. It’s what you want when you’re getting ready for a new season.
“Most of Barrow’s win in the Championship last season were at home and they claimed some notable scalps from the upper end of the division.
“They see Craven Park as a fortress so we’ve got a tough job on but the lads are all looking forward to it and are ready to go.
“It’s a pity not all of the boys will be with us, but those who are playing can’t wait to get back into action again after all the hard work they’ve put in since we returned to training.”
Barrow will also include a few new faces, but it isn’t yet known whether they will blood their trio of new PNG players, who were due to arrive this week.
Coach Paul Crarey has told the North-West Evening Mail, the local paper in Barrow, that his players are so keen to get started that he compares it with the ‘caged tiger syndrome’.
“We’re ready to face a tough Oldham outfit. They have a massive pack that will test our middle.
“Scott Naylor’s sides are always mentally prepared, tough and hard to beat.”
A reminder to Roughyeds fans that today (Friday) is the last chance to get discounted season tickets for the 2019 campaign.
The office inside the Vestacare Stadium will be open between 10am and 3pm (cash or cheque only), but you can buy online via the Roughyeds Store until midnight, paying by debit or credit card.