Still 'No place like Home' for Oldham
Oldham RL Club chairman Chris Hamilton has reassured fans --- on the eve of the new season --- that progress continues to be made in relation to the Roughyeds' ground situation.
Tony Benson's men have a tough start to the 2010 campaign with a Northern Rail Cup opener at Championship club Leigh Centurions on Sunday and seven days later they are due to play Hornets RL in the same competition --- at home.
Roughyeds, not yet in a position to say where they will be playing, are "extremely grateful" to loyal fans for their continued support and are especially appreciative of those supporters who have bought season tickets despite the unusual circumstances.
Said Mr Hamilton: "We are as frustrated as everyone else that we cannot confirm exactly what is happening regarding a ground for this season.
"We stress, however, that a lot of work is going on behind the scenes and that it has been going on since last year when it was confirmed that we would have to find a new home.
"Uppermost in all this is our desire to remain in the borough. It would have been easy to do what we have done previously and find a venue out of town but if we had done that it would have compounded the financial issues that have hamstrung the club for the past 12 years.
"Even though a tax bill was paid to stave off a winding-up order last November the club still has other debts, as we have reported previously.
"What we are working on now is striving to find a long-term solution to the club's ground situation.
"We are obviously well aware that the season starts on Sunday and that our first home game is scheduled for seven days later.
"We are working very closely with Oldham Council and with a number of other parties, while also keeping the Rugby Football League up to speed about exactly where we are up to in our efforts to secure a home ground.
"We are asking fans to trust us in our promise that we are going about this in the right way. And supporters can rest assued that work behind the scenes is moving us ever closer to the time when we can say more.
"We hope to be in a position to update people further in the early part of next week -- and if all this comes to fruition our supporters will fully appreciate the reasons why we have had to do things this way."
Coach Tony Benson, meanwhile, has named a 20-man squad to go to Leigh. It will be cut to 18 at training tomorrow when hooker Martin Roden (calf strain) will face a fitness test.
Oldham (from): O'Connor, Onyango, Littler, Heaton, Fogerty, Brocklehurst, Gillam, N Roden, Whitmore, Ashe, Boults, Sykes, M Roden, Ellison, Kerr, Graves, Mellor, Chandler, Clarke, Bentley.
Said the Kiwi boss: "We have come through a difficult process to arrive at what we feel is our strongest team from the players currently available.
"The pre-season has been a difficult one in which we started late and then got tripped up by the weather.
"Our time on a pitch has been very limited to little more than the pre-season games we've played at Batley, Whitehaven and Rochdale.
"However, when we have managed to get in a valuable sesion on a pitch we have improved a lot which shows me what huge potential we have in the squad."