SCOTT Naylor has spelt out the importance of a Challenge Cup run to a club like Oldham in terms of bringing in vital revenue.
It was more relevant than ever this year, he said, because Betfred League 1 clubs had only ten home league games in which to raise money.
Oldham start this year’s Coral Challenge Cup journey on Sunday with a third-round tie against the amateurs of Haydock at the Vestacare Stadium (3pm kick-off).
In a bid to get more people through the turnstiles and thus put the focus on the Challenge Cup and it’s sudden-death appeal, Roughyeds have made big cuts in admission prices, down from £14 to £10 for adults and from £12 to £8 for concessions.
It’s a split-gate, all-pay game (as are all cup ties) so season tickets are not valid.
Junior season-ticket holders can use their tickets in this round , however, so long as they produce their books at the turnstiles.
The tie is a repeat of a fourth-round clash in 2017 which Oldham won 40-12 at Bower Fold in front of an attendance of 743 which included a sizeable following from Haydock.
Neither Oldham fans nor players have forgotten that Haydock went 8-0 up with two tries inside the first ten minutes in dreadful weather conditions.
Two years on the venue switches to the Vestacare Stadium as Roughyeds seek to cement their passage into round four and hopefully another home tie.
“We’ll prepare for this tie as we would for any game. Not only is it that important for the club, but Haydock deserve our utmost respect and that’s what they’ll get.
“From their point of view it’s their big day and a chance to hit the headlines and create memories that will last for ever,
“For us, its a must-win game because so much is riding on it financially. We need a run in this competition like never before.
“We all know what it means to the club, particularly this year, and you can rest assured that coaching staff and players will be doing their utmost to raise some money for the club.
“Realistically, for a club like Oldham and many other clubs, the Challenge Cup is all about raising money. It’s a potential source of income that can help to keep a club going and that’s why it’s vital that we have a decent run.
“The Challenge Cup has been good to us in recent seasons and we are looking forward to another good run this year — and that is certainly no disrespect to Haydock who we know will give us a game.”
This will be Naylor’s seventh attempt to do something in the Challenge Cup as Oldham boss and his record certainly stands up to close scrutiny.
In 2014 Oldham won at Egremont in the third round and then went out at Bradford in front of a crowd of 2, 788.
The 2017 competition saw Roughyeds follow up their win against Haydock with defeat at Featherstone Rovers, also in front of a four-figure attendance.
The best years though were 2016 and 2018.
In 2016 Naylor’s men beat Kells at home in round four and then enjoyed that magnificent 36-22 triumph at the Craven Park home of Super League outfit Hull KR in round five (attendance 3,056) before going out at Bower Fold against the might of Warrington Wolves, watched by 2,394.
Last year, Featherstone Lions were beaten in round three to set up a huge win at Championship side Halifax (688) and then Hull KR again, this time at Bower Fold, crowd 1,064.
It all starts again on Sunday . . . and Oldham are reliant on as many fans as possible taking advantage of the heavily discounted admission prices to back the boys, show their allegiance to the club and hopefully to cheer the team into Tuesday’s fourth-round draw.