OLDHAM Rugby League Club are again busy this week in building a squad for 2021.

Only Lewis Charnock and Matthew Fletcher are already under contract for next year so the remainder of the squad has to be rebuilt brick by brick, either by bringing in new players or re-signing existing ones on new deals.

This week's activity so far has seen the retention of well-established Matty Wilkinson and Dave Hewitt on new one-year contracts and fans can stand by for the possible arrival of a third new boy before weekend to follow last week's recruitment of front-row forwards Tyler Dupree from Leeds Rhinos and Luke Nelmes from Dewsbury Rams.

As long-serving second-row star Danny Langtree had already committed to Roughyeds for two more years, the club now has seven players on its 2021 roster – Langtree, Dupree, Nelmes, Charnock, Fletcher, Wilkinson and Hewitt.

Hooker Wilkinson has signed his fifth contract at Oldham to extend his commitment to Roughyeds to the end of November, 2021.

Now aged 24, the former Salford Red Devils dummy-half has again put pen to paper, to the delight of head coach Matt Diskin, who knows a thing or two about Wilky's role from his own playing days with Leeds and Bradford, and his assistant Brendan Sheridan.

Said Diskin: "Matty has loads of potential and this is a really good re-signing for us.

"One of our priorities for 2021 is to bolster-up and toughen-up the middles and that should benefit Matty a lot. He will have more in front of him next season and he should relish playing behind a heavier and a more robust middles unit."

Wilkinson said: "On a personal note, Disco can show me lots of different things because my role used to be his role and there's nothing he doesn't know about the dummy-half job.

"As far as squad-building goes we have a lot more time for recruitment this year and I'm sure that by the time everyone is on board we'll have a squad than can put in a real good dig.

"We struggled in our first few Championship games earlier this year, but it was always going to be tough in our first few games. It's a big step-up to Championship rugby from League One.

"I'm sure we will be better equipped for it next time and we will have had a lot more time as well with Disco. That's got to make a big difference.

"I can't wait to get back into it. Apart from the lack of team training and games at the weekend, Lockdown for me hasn't been all that different to normal. I work on the railways and we were regarded as key workers so it was business as usual. I haven't had a day off since it all started.

"Like all the other lads though I've really missed rugby and getting together two or three times a week. That's a part of our lives and most of us haven't known anything different for years, apart from the off-season."

Wilkinson, a Leigh lad, started with Centurions as a boy but moved to Salford when he was 17 and soon became a full-time pro. He had spells on dual-reg with Halifax and North Wales Crusaders before moving to Oldham at the end of June 2017 on a contract to November 30 that year.

Roughyeds had to move smartly to get his signature ahead of Halifax, but he quickly settled at the club and he has now scored 21 tries in 60 games after making his debut in a 14-12 home win over Toulouse Olympique on July 2, 2017.

Scrum-half Hewitt's six appearances in the six Championship games played in February and March before Lockdown kicked in took his total in the Roughyeds' jersey to 101 since he made his debut in the summer of 2015 when he joined the club initially on loan from St Helens.

He then had a season as a full-time pro at Sheffield Eagles before returning to Oldham where, in 2021, he will be starting his fifth full season.

Hewitt said: "I was made-up to sign on again. As soon as I knew the boss wanted me again it was a no-brainer.

"We are clearly building a squad to challenge in the Championship and I'm really looking forward to getting started again.

"I don't know when we'll be back in for pre-season but when the time comes I'll be ready."