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More front-row strength is a priority

STILL in need of three or four more players to complete their 2020 squad, Oldham RLFC have identified another front-row man as a key priority.

They currently have four props on board — Phil Joy, Jack Spencer, Ben Davies and new signing Jode Sheriffe — but another big man to share the heavy workload up front is regarded as a must.

Said chairman Chris Hamilton:

“Our coach Matt Diskin is happy with the quality we’ve got in the squad , but we still need to up the numbers a littler bit.

“We need another prop and we’ve got a couple of irons in the fire, but nothing is firmed-up yet.”

Two members of last season’s squad who were not retained, centre Jack Holmes and utility forward Ben Calland, have moved on and found new clubs.

Holmes has joined North Wales Crusaders, while Calland has signed for another Betfred League 1 club Rochdale Hornets, where his elder brother Matt is coach.

Oldham go to Hornets in the annual Law Cup clash on January 12, seeking to make it three Law Cup wins in a row.

Rochdale, soon to be taken over by the consortium that was in charge at Swinton until a few months ago, are working hard to make the January 12 game at the Crown Oil Arena a special one.

It’s 30 years since a Second Division match between these derby rivals attracted a crowd of more than 8,000 and Hornets are linking up with their Past Players Association to stage a reunion of players from their 1989 side.

Chief executive Steve Kerr has been in contact with Joe Warburton, new secretary of the Oldham Past Players Association, and has extended a reunion invitation to the Oldham players of the day with their wives or partners.

Also invited to be Hornets guests at the Law Cup are current members of the Oldham society’s high command — the regulars who attend monthly meetings and always turn out to represent the association when needed.

Players who turned out for Oldham in that Second Division thriller on Boxing Day, 1989 are urged to make contact with Joe Warburton on 07882848340.

Said Kerr:

“It would be nice if we could invite all members of the Oldham Past Players but I’m afraid that’s not practical.

“The invite is to members of the 1989 Oldham side that played here on that memorable day, plus their wives, and also to the active members of the Oldham Past Players, the regulars if you like, and their wives too.

“All we ask is that Joe gives us a list of who is coming a couple of days before the game.”

The Rochdale game will be the second of two pre-season matches that Oldham have already arranged.

They open up with a game at Barrow on January 5, followed by the Law Cup clash a week later.

They are also exploring the possibility of adding a third game to these two, possibly on January 19.

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