THREE weeks into pre-season training, new head coach Matt Diskin says he is encouraged by what he has seen so far in the Oldham camp.

The newly-promoted Roughyeds are getting ready for a BetFred Championship campaign that opens up with a Bower Fold clash against Widnes Vikings on Sunday, February 2.

They go to Barrow in their first pre-season outing on Sunday, January 5 (2pm) and then take on derby rivals Rochdale Hornets at the Crown Oil Arena for the Law Cup on Sunday, January 12 (3pm).

Diskin’s squad numbers only 20 so far, but he and chairman Chris Hamilton are working hard behind the scenes on endeavouring to do more recruitment.

Talking of the squad’s preparations, Diskin said: “Things are going really well and all the signs are positive.

“What we are doing isn’t rocket science, but we’ve introduced a few new things and tweaked some others and the lads have responded well.

“We are not getting carried away because there’s still plenty of room for improvement but there are lots of encouraging signs and we’re looking forward to getting on the field at Barrow.”

Of the 20 players signed so far only utility back Kyran Johnson is on the injured list.

Harry Aaronson has recovered from a hamstring injury and is back in full training, but Johnson is still having treatment and rehab for the ankle injury he suffered near the end of the Promotion Final win against Newcastle Thunder on October 6.

He is said to be not far off a return to squad training.

Of the club’s ongoing search for more new blood, Diskin said: “Promotion was a fabulous achievement for the club and one that needed to be recognised, lauded and celebrated.

“But the reality, in terms of recruitment for the following season, is that it makes life difficult.

“You can’t put plans in place until you know for sure that you’re up and by that time most of your rival clubs have done their business and you’re following them in the market.

“We are working really hard, but I stress that this isn’t a numbers game.

“It’s not a question of signing just to build up the squad.

“We’ve got to be signing the right men and you’d be surprised at how hard that is at this time of the year.”

Former Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls hooker Diskin arrived at Oldham on a two-year deal in October. The 37-year-old ex-Batley Bulldogs head coach has replaced Scott Naylor whose seven years at the helm ended with promotion back to the Championship.