Oldham have confirmed that Steven Nield has signed a new one-year deal with the club, joining several key members of last season’s squad.
New signing Jarrod Ward and youngsters Jake Hughes, Tom Dempsey and Richard Joy will also be part of a growing squad for next season.
“From a players’ point of view, Oldham is a great club to be at,” said Nield, an Oldham native.
“I can’t speak for the others, but the general feeling in the camp is that most of the lads want to stick together in the hope that we can make things happen next season.
“We all get on well with each other and we have a happy dressing room with a great team spirit.
“Even after our defeat in the Grand Final we still felt close as a group and I think that tells you a lot.
“Last year I was one of the last to re-sign, but this time I wanted to get it sorted as quickly as I could so that I could start planning for next year.
“I always knew 2013 would be a tough time for me because ‘Lippy’ (Lepori), Dale (Bloomfield) and Mo (Agoro) were playing well.
“Had I been playing as well as they did I wouldn’t have expected to lose my place, so although I had to be patient I couldn’t complain.
“I had to bite the bullet, keep my head down and continue to work hard in training, but on the few times I did get in the side I felt I did enough to show I was making progress.
“Last season, when I was in regularly at full-back, I like to think I stepped up to another level and that was perhaps borne out when I was offered another contract.
“When you are playing in nearly every game you feel you are making a difference and on the back of that you gain in confidence.”
Oldham coach Scott Naylor is pleased that Nield has committed his future to the club.
“It was to Steven’s credit that he kept battling away and kept working hard on trying to do the things we asked of him,” he said.
“His big chance came along in the season just ended and he took it with both hands, all the time gaining in confidence and going from strength to strength.
“I’m confident that next season he will get even better again.”