ROUGHYEDS coach Matt Diskin is looking forward to having a few selection headaches when the new campaign gets under way.

Oldham will have been out of action for more than a year when they take to the field for the first round Challenge Cup tie against Barrow Raiders on the weekend of March 20 and 21.

The winners will travel to Swinton Lions or Newcastle Thunder the following weekend and then the Betfred Championship starts at home to near neighbours Swinton on Good Friday, April 2.

Diskin’s squad of 27 includes 12 new signings in forwards Tyler Dupree, Martyn Reilly, Luke Nelmes, Shaun Pick, Liam Kirk and backs Tommy Brierley, Ben Heaton, Ben Holcroft, Max Roberts, Callum Green, James Barran and Ryan Ince.

The latest signing, that of second-row man Danny Bridge, compensates for the loss of Ed Smith, who signed a new deal before reluctantly accepting he had to call it a day because of persistent knee trouble.

Diskin: “At his best, Danny Bridge is one of the best back-rowers in the competition.

“By adding him to the back-rowers we already had, it’s fair to say we are going to be very strong in that department and that I’m going to have a few selection headaches going forward, especially in the pack.”

Veteran prop Jode Sheriffe is due to have a knee operation but is able to train while also getting stuck into his new coaching role.

Part of his job will be to help the younger members of the squad along as Roughyeds look to make an impact in the second tier in 2021.

Oldham are quietly confident they have what’s required to make a better fist of it, and to finish higher up the table than they did in 2016 and again in 2017, when they suffered with injuries and were relegated.

“The younger players are fitting in well, training hard and have become prominent members of the group,” Diskin said.

“They know they’ve got to fight for places – that applies to everybody – but the signs are good. They’re going really well.”