Oldham give amateur back a chance

Oldham have confirmed the signing of back Joe Hartley from Oldham St Annes for the 2021 season, with the option for another year.

Hartley has been at St Annes since the age of nine, and will now get the chance to prove his worth on the Championship stage.

He becomes the sixth Oldhamer in the club’s 28-man squad, standing side by side with Gareth Owen, Phil Joy, Danny Bridge, Matthew Fletcher and another new boy, James Barran.

Reacting to the news, he said: “I was thrilled to get a phone call from Matt Diskin more than a year ago, inviting me to training, and even more delighted when I got the good news a few days ago that I was to be offered a contract.

“Not many opportunities like that come along for somebody who’s been at a community club as long as I’ve been at St Anne’s. I had never been anywhere else, so I didn’t know what to expect when I went to Oldham. It was a real big thing for me.

“The other lads immediately made me feel very welcome and very much one of them, though, and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every single minute of my time at Roughyeds, where I hope to get the chance this season to show what I can do.”

Head Coach Matt Diskin added: “Joe has been training with us on a development plan which allowed him to continue to play for St Anne’s. He’s not the biggest lad, but he’s strong in stature; mentally tough; and he really understands the game. We are delighted for him.

“There’s a lot of development in him. We are not expecting miracles, but he has certainly earned his contract and his chance at the pro game and we expect him to grasp it with both hands.”

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