Benson talks up Oldham chances

Oldham boss Tony Benson has surveyed another revamping of his first team squad in the close season but is happy with the way the close season has shaped up for the Roughyeds, who for the first time in many years have a definitive base.

Describing the humble home ground that is Whitebank Stadium, but home for the Roughyeds, Benson said, “I think it’s one of the better atmospheres we play at.”

“It’s probably not the prettiest ground in rugby league at the moment, but it’s certainly going to be.”

“Our fans are very close to the park and they have a good day out.”

“As always with Oldham we don’t have a big budget and it’s been trimmed again on last year which meant some of the better players from last year were skimmed off the top and taken away by other clubs, which happens every year.”

“I was expecting it, but it sort of excites me too because it allows me to bring in a fresh crop of young players and what has happened, whether it be on purpose or not is that a lot more local players have come into the team. It adds a bit of passion and purpose to what we do.”

The affable Kiwi has previous pedigree in the Northern Rail Cup, helping to guide Leigh Centurions to the 2006 trophy against Hull Kingston Rovers who were red hot favourites on the day

“I’m excited about it and you always think there’s the slight prospect of us getting there.” He said of Oldham’s chances.

“The strategy has always been to use the pre-season friendlies to confirm the squad, which we’ve done. All 25 players have come through that and left me with a hell of a headache. Going into the Northern Rail it’s about using the squad and finding our best combinations, fine tuning if you like and working out a selection strategy.”

“I’d set some pretty serious goals regarding this competition and we’d like to progress and I think the players would too, they want to progress. I know there are some very good teams in it, but I think that on our day we could upset some of the bigger teams.”

Tony pointed at Hunslet’s toppling of Halifax last year as one of those results.

“In front of us we’ve got Hunslet and Halifax so there’s some big asks there, but nothing I don’t think that we could do a job on, on our day. Then we’ve got Swinton who have spent big this year and perhaps should be up with those teams and Whitehaven who will be no easy team when they come to face us a second time.”

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