Defiant Benson tells Oldham fans not to give up


Oldham boss Tony Benson has told fans not to give up on promotion.

At the half-way stage of the Championship One campaign, Roughyeds are in fifth place — top four go up — and are only three points behind fourth-placed Whitehaven.

Four bonus points from five defeats have enabled Benson’s men to stick on the heels of the top four despite their poor run of results.

This weekend they made up ground by one point on Whitehaven thanks to the bonus they earned against South Wales Scorpions, followed by Whitehaven’s 42-28 home defeat by leaders Barrow.

Benson faced up to fans on the stage in the social club immediately after Saturday’s defeat — the club’s fourth in a row.

He told them: “I’ve just been asked if promotion is still achievable. Too right it is.

“I’ve also been asked if we will get it. Too right we will.

“We’ve two weeks now before our next game and in that time we will get more of our injured men back on the field.

“I see definite progress. It might sound daft after another home defeat, but we are continuing to improve.

“As disheartening as it was to lose again, we kept our heads up and we kept on digging in to the end.

“A five-point deficit says we didn’t quite dig in enough, but we definitely played better than we did the week before.

“I feel for Chris Hamilton (chairman), the club, the players and you, the supporters, because we’ve shared some tough times in the past few weeks, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“Bonus points have been a big help, but in two weeks we get a fresh start and an opportunity over the second half of the season to rake back the points we have dropped during our injury crisis.

“I will soon have back the side that was hard to score against not long ago when we set off with high expectations and some great wins.

“You can’t take 10 or 11 players out of a squad like ours and expect things to remain the same.

“It’s like starting all over again on structures and plans which had been in place since last November when we started pre-season training.

“A few new guys have come in to help us out in exceedingly difficult circumstances.

“I want to take my hat off to them.

“Things have been tough for everybody, but what doesn’t break you makes you stronger and if that is true we will soon come out the other side very strong.

“The players are determined to pull things round and are working extremely hard to be the best they can be as individuals and as a team.

“We are working extensively on our cohesion and our structures and we introduced extra sessions last week.

“We are also spending every available minute investigating opportunities to strengthen the squad.”