League 1 outfit Oldham have confirmed that they will return to Boundary Park sooner than originally announced, with a re-arranged game against Workington Town to be played there next Wednesday night along with any home play-off fixtures.
The club confirmed back in March that they’d be returning to the 13,500-capacity stadium from the 2024 season having previously played there from 1997 to 2009.
Since then, they’ve played at the Whitebank – or Vestacare – Stadium and Bower Fold in Stalybridge, bouncing between those two locations due to the club yo-yoing between the Championship and League 1 on the field.
The club could find themselves back in the second tier come 2024, and if they do, Boundary Park will have played a part in it, much to the delight of interim head coach Mike Ford.
Oldham will make Boundary Park return next week
57-year-old Ford, who has vast experience in both rugby league and rugby union, took charge of the Roughyeds until the end of the season following Stu Littler’s departure last month.
Having previously managed the club between 2000 and 2001, on the earlier than scheduled games at Oldham Athletic Football Club’s home, he said: “This is yet another example of our ever-growing relationship with Athletic, whose help and co-operation in all of this is really appreciated.
“It’s now been confirmed. Any home games we have in the play-offs will be at Boundary Park. It all depends on where we finish in the league, but I expect we’ll have at least one game at home, possibly two.”
Oldham Council have already confirmed an investment of £1m in a new pitch at Boundary Park to enable the town’s professional football and rugby league clubs to both play there.
Work is due to start on the new hybrid pitch at the end of the National League football season in May.
League 1 Play-off spots
Currently sat 4th on the ladder, Ford’s side have three games still to play before the end of the regular season, more than anyone else currently in those play-off spots.
Dewsbury Rams have already sealed the League 1 title and with it promotion, while Hunslet in 2nd have 26 points to their name, five more than Oldham at present.
The Roughyeds mathematically could hit 27 with three wins from their last three. If they do that, there’s a slim chance they could take 2nd spot and with it, one less play-off game.
It looks more likely they’ll finish between 3rd, 4th or 5th though. The play-off structure means that either 3rd or 4th would be good enough to see them into week two of the end-of-season competition, regardless of their result in the first.
Oldham get returnee boost
In their final three, Oldham take on Rochdale Hornets away from home, Workington in the aforementioned clash at Boundary Park, and then round the season off with a home game against Midlands Hurricanes which will be played at the Vestacare Stadium.
Former Super League man Jamie Ellis joined the Roughyeds earlier this year, but is still awaiting his debut having pulled his hamstring in training.
Meanwhile, Jordan Paga – who in June was banned for four games for ‘unnecessary contact with a match official’ will be back available for the play-off run-in from the clash with Workington.