SCOTT Naylor has confirmed what every Oldham fan already believed – that new signing Paul Crook will be the Roughyeds’ midfield linchpin in a highly-competitive League One campaign.
You don’t sign a vastly experienced 31-year-old half-back, a master tactician, to play a back-seat role and Oldham fans recognised the day Crook was signed that here was a man to dictate operations and to lead Naylor’s men around the park.
He is the one old-head among nine new signings so far. The other eight forwards, Luke Nelmes, Adam Jones and Liam Bent plus backs Danny Rasool, Kyran Johnson, Dave Eccleston, Matt Reid and Jack Holmes, have an average age of 22.
Oldham’s boss has now stated publicly that Crook, the ex-Rochdale ace and all-time Hornets record points scorer will be given the remit to take the lead.
He said: “Paul is a first-rate kicker of the ball, but his overall experience will be vital for us too.
“He can pull the strings in midfield and also lead the other lads around the pitch, something we lacked last season.
“Through inexperience, we suffered a few times in the last 10 to 15 minutes last season. Next time, we hope Paul will help us to keep our noses in front if we find ourselves in similar situations.
“We lacked a little bit of know-how last year, but it should be different this time around.”
Crook played for St Helens and Widnes before his seven-year stint at Rochdale where he scored nearly 1,500 points to smash all previous Hornets scoring records.
He then had a season at Whitehaven where he scored 225 points in 27 games and steered the Cumbrians to the 2017 promotion final in which they narrowly lost out to Barrow Raiders in front of a 3,000-plus crowd at Craven Park.
By a twist of fate, Roughyeds go to Barrow in a pre-season friendly on Sunday, January 21 – more warm-up games are expected to be announced soon – and open their League One season at Whitehaven on Sunday, February 18.
Fans are reminded that season-ticket holders will watch three of 13 home league games next season free of charge if they purchase before December 22 to get the best savings.
They can buy online by credit or debit card or by cash or cheque only at the club office at the Vestacare Stadium, Whitebank Road, Limehurst Village, which is open from 11am to 3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 9.30am to 3pm on Fridays.
For more information ring 07904 898177.