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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Oldham determined to throw off bridesmaid's tag

BRIDESMAID syndrome has set in at Oldham in recent years, but coach Tony Benson is determined to go all the way this time round.

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HIGH NOONE: Former Barrow Raiders man Paul Noone is now at Oldham

So often defeated in the play-offs as promotion beckoned, the Roughyeds have set out their stall this year to take that final step.

With four promotion spots up for grabs, Benson’s side will still go up should they suffer that familiar fate of a play-off final defeat, though he would obviously prefer the glory of victory.

With Miles Greenwood a big signing for the Greater Manchester club and former Raider Paul Noone, Neil Maden and others adding experience and skill, Oldham certainly have the potential to be up among the top sides.

Benson said: “I think over the last few years, on paper we haven’t had the strongest squad, but we’ve wrung every ounce out of them. By the time we have got to the finals, we have been pretty well done and other teams have added Super League players to their sides and they just pip us at the line.

“I think this year, I don’t want to get caught out with that, so I have added a few more players to the squad and a few more experienced players too.

“Hopefully we have a team who can get us over the line this year.”

Oldham’s pre-season has been hit by friendly cancellations – their game with local rivals Rochdale being postponed more than once – and several players, including Noone and Maden, have yet to feature.

But they gave Whitehaven a real run for their money and beat a Saints side including Barrow ace Ade Gardner and Chris Flannery.

Benson added: “The two games we have played went pretty well.

“We played a really strong Saints team, which included players like Flannery and Ade Gardner, and we beat them fairly comprehensively.

“But I have still got about half-a-dozen players who haven’t had a game yet – Neil Maden, Paul Noone and those guys haven’t played yet.

“All this means I don’t really know the full potential of the team yet.”

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