SCOTT Naylor has welcomed the RFL decision to pair Oldham with neighbours Rochdale Hornets in next season’s Summer Bash event at Blackpool.
“They’re our arch-rivals, so who better?” said the Roughyeds boss, of a Hornets outfit who were League 1 champions at the end of last season and have since signed Lewis Palfrey and Gary Middlehurst.
Oldham have strengthened with the addition of Scott Leatherbarrow, Ben Davies, Nathan Chappell and David Hewitt and recruitment is unlikely to stop there.
Naylor said: “The squad is coming along nicely and we hope to be stronger still by the time next season gets underway.
“By the time we get to the end of next season’s play-offs we could have played Rochdale five or six times and they will all be huge games for both clubs and for both sets of fans.
“We had our first experience of Summer Bash last season and it was a fantastic event over the two days.
“Our game against Swinton will be remembered for different things, but the event itself was terrific and we are looking forward to enjoying it again and to going head to head against our newly-promoted derby rivals.
“You could say it’s just another game on the calendar, but we all know it’s going to be a bit more than that. It will be a big day for both clubs and a great day for one of them.”
Six Kingstone Press Championship matches will be staged at Bloomfield Road over the weekend of May 27 and 28 – three on the Saturday and another three on the Sunday.
Oldham v Rochdale will kick-off at 2.30pm on the Saturday, following the League 1 cup final, which will kick-off at noon.
Echoing Naylor’s reaction, Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton said: “It will be an opportunity to showcase our club and the KP Championship as a whole in front of a TV audience.
“As the first of the six Championship games, we can set a benchmark for the weekend with what promises to be a highly-exciting derby.”
Saturday, May 27: League 1 Cup Final (noon); OLDHAM v Rochdale Hornets (2.30); Featherstone Rovers v London Broncos (4.45); Bradford Bulls v Hull KR (7pm).
Sunday, May 28: Swinton Lions v Sheffield Eagles (12.45); Toulouse Olympique v Halifax (3pm); Batley Bulldogs v Dewsbury Rams (5.15).
Oldham prop Joe Burke, meanwhile, is hoping to keep his place in the Welsh side to play Jamaica at Wakefield Trinity’s Belle Vue Stadium on Friday, October 21 at 7.30pm, although coach John Kear is planning to call up players who didn’t figure in the 50-0 win against Serbia in Llanelli.
Burke had a sound defensive game in the second-row against the Serbs and has set his sights on being part of a Welsh squad that will qualify for next year’s World Cup down under if it can beat Italy – and Richard Lepori – in Monza on October 29.