IT was a meet-and-greet affair at the Vestacare Stadium last night when preparations began for Oldham’s assault on the Betfred Championship in 2020.
New head coach Matt Diskin and his right-hand man Brendan Sheridan introduced themselves to the players at a short meeting before the squad went out on the pitch.
The group that’s been assembled so far — there will be more to come —could be split into three lots:
- Players who were here last year and have either signed new deals to stay or are still on existing contracts, such as Danny Langtree, Dave Hewitt, Kyran Johnson, Danny Bridge, Cameron Leeming, Gareth Owen, Jack Spencer, Matty Wilkinson, Liam Bent, Phil Joy, Ed Smith and Ben Davies.
- Players who were with us on loan last year but have since signed deals to become fully-fledged Roughyeds players, namely Declan Kay (from Rochdale Hornets), Harry Aaronson (Swinton Lions) and Adam Brook (Halifax).
- Brand-new faces to Roughyeds’ fans like James Worthington, Lewis Charnock, John Hutchings and Jode Sheriffe.
Worthington and Hutchings, both aged 20, are young outside backs from Wigan and St Helens respectively.
Charnock (25) is a tough-as-teak outside half who has seen service with St Helens, Bradford Bulls (on loan) and Barrow Raiders. Unlike most other members of the squad, Charnock is starting life with the Roughyeds on a two-year deal.
Sheriffe (33) is a hugely-experienced prop from Dewsbury Rams.
Half-way through two-year contracts are Danny Langtree, David Hewitt and Kyran Johnson, who couldn’t train on the opening night because he had suffered a setback to the ankle he dislocated in the Promotion Final.
“It was coming along nicely, but then I went over on it again and that’s put me right back,”
Diskin was more than happy with the way things went on his first evening at the club.
“We all got to know each other and blew away a few cobwebs. A lot of hard work lies ahead.”
First test for the new-look Roughyeds is a pre-season warm-up at Barrow on Sunday, January 5 (2pm).
The Championship programme kicks off with the visit to Bower Fold of Widnes Vikings on Sunday, February 2 (3pm).