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Owen talks of mid-table finish

ALTHOUGH Oldham have found it tough going in the Championship in three of the last five seasons, (2016, 2017, 2020), club captain Gareth Owen is confident Matt Diskin’s new-look squad can spring a few surprises and finish mid-table, at least, in 2021.

Chairman Chris Hamilton has invested heavily in retaining 14 players and adding a dozen new signings – four of them big, strong, experienced forwards in a bid to make sure that Roughyeds won’t be bullied physically and will have the size, strength, weight, know-how and power to lead from the front.

Martyn Reilly, Luke Nelmes, Shaun Pick and Liam Kirk will provide the grunt and the gristle that will hopefully transform Roughyeds from the struggling Championship side of 2016, 2017 and pre-lockdown 2020 to an outfit that will command a great deal of respect in the coming months.

Hooker Owen, with 137 Oldham games already on his CV, is looking to pilot Diskin’s Dreadnoughts to a “comfortable” position.

He said:

“It’s going to be tough, but we don’t intend to be fighting to stay up like we did in 2016 and 2017. We’ve had enough of that. This time we’re aiming for mid-table. We’re ambitious, but we’re also realistic.

“It’s a massive jump from League One to the Championship and if we can finish in a comfortable spot, or in the top half, we’ll have done very well indeed.

“Pre-season training is very different this year. We only train twice, instead of three times, and we do lots of things in small groups. ‘Disco’ (Diskin) now has two assistants in Brendan Sheridan and Jode Sheriffe and that enables us to split up into three units. Every so often we swop round so by the end of the session each player has spent time with each of the coaches.

“After his massive Covid scare last Spring, ‘Shez’ (Sheridan) is back to his best and he’s the life and soul of each session. Jode is new to coaching, but he’s doing a lot of it and he looks a natural. He’s doing his physical stuff first, as he’s also registered as a player, but then he puts on his coaching hat and slots into that role.

“We’re also doing a lot on our own away from the club and we can’t wait to get the season started. We’re crossing off the days on the calendar, hoping that when we start fans will be allowed in. It will be a shame if they’re locked out, but if they’re not allowed in we’ll just have to accept the situation as it is and get on with it.

“As for prospects, we’ve got a lot of new players, plus some of the old-faithfuls, and we’ve got a lot of good, young guys from Wigan and Warrington. We’ve got a nice blend of youth and enthusiasm and a lot of strength in the front-row.

“We’ve got a good squad, both in terms of mobility and numbers, and it’s clear even at this early stage of pre-season that there is going to be a lot of competition for places.”

Season Ticket Deadline

FANS are reminded that the deadline for buying discounted Early-Bird season tickets is January 15.

The office is closed, but fans can contact the club on 07904 898177 or by email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

Season tickets are pegged at last year’s prices and purchases can be made online at the club shop

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Club Cash

SINCE Covid-19 caused us to temporarily abandon door-to-door CLUB CASH lottery collections last Spring there’s never been a better time to come on board and help Roughyeds to get through these hugely challenging times.

Why? The £500-a-week rollover jackpot is back — not only that there are now TWO £50 prizes and TWO £25 prizes in addition to the first prize of £1,000, a second prize of £100 and ten consolation prizes of £10.

But the return of the jackpot is the big lottery news. It’s back this week and it’s been won first time out, so next week’s jackpot is again £500 but if nobody touches lucky it will go up to £1,000 the following week and increase by £500 a week, if not won, to a maximum of £10,000.

We have seriously missed the regular income from collections on the doorstep, but we cannot thank too much those supporters who have got behind the club in these unprecedented times of hardship by keeping their Club Cash memberships going or, indeed, by joining for the first time, knowing that for £1 a week they can help the club to combat Covid and prepare with confidence for the challenges of Betfred Championship rugby in 2021.

You can send a cheque to cover a set number of weeks; take out a bank standing order — our preferred option; complete a bank transfer; or pay for several weeks up front by credit or debit card.

You can download a standing order form by clicking on the link at the end of this news release and following the instructions or you can contact our Club Cash administrator John McAndrew (tel: 07980 129541; email: mcandrewj@aol.com) or speak to the club direct on 07904 898177 or email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The easiest way, though, is to download a standing order form below. The latest prize updates are shown on the form as follows (all for £1): £1,000, £100, £50 (2), £25 (2), a number of £10 consolation prizes and the £500-a-week rollover jackpot.

Best of luck!

Download Application Form

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