2 Games Over The Festive Period That Could Define 2019 For Oldham

There were times when the fixture list would throw up some great Boxing Day local derbies but in recent years they have been few and far between. Instead of the luxury of dragging themselves out of bed at lunchtime after the excesses of the day before, Latics fans have faced trips across the Pennines on several occasions rather than a short trip to Boundary Park.

The last time anything that could be described as a local derby was played out at Boundary Park on Boxing Day was 18 years ago when Wigan were the visitors. The festive cheer was in full flow on that day as Latics (the real one) won 2-1.

This season is even worse with the prospect of a 250 mile round trip to Carlisle being the festive treat that nobody savours. However, the game is one that Latics must look at as one that we need to come away from with at least a draw in order to keep us in touch with the promotion and play off places.

Both sides are enjoying similar form with Latics slightly ahead on 12 points from the last eight games to Carlisle’s 11. The fixture at Boundary Park with Carlisle back in October was a low point with Latics fans as the side went down 3-1. It was made doubly frustrating for home fans as the Carlisle side, included former Latics player Anthony Gerrard whose contract was terminated for gross misconduct after his social media posts had brought the club into disrepute.

The other key game over the festive period is the New Year’s Day clash with basement club Notts County. On paper, the game would appear to be a breeze for Latics but, they struggled at Meadow Lane in early November coming away with a point but failing to score despite 20 attempts on goal.

However, Latics displayed a completely different approach to the game against Bury last week than the one that was evident earlier in the season. Injuries have forced changes to the side but instead of weakening it, the players coming in have cemented their places in the team and Latics are heading in the right direction.

If we have managed to sneak into the top seven leading up to our FA Cup clash with Fulham on January 6th, then we can face 2019 with confidence and optimism.