In-Depth Look; What’s Oldham’s Main Priority – A Manager, A Defender or a Striker?
There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of activity down at Boundary Park lately and yet common sense would tell you that there is a pressing need to sort out at least two areas requiring attention.
The obvious starting point is the current vacant manager’s position, which has been ably looked after since Boxing Day by stand-in Pete Wild. Some have suggested that the reason there has been little news of a permanent appointment, is that there are very few people interested in it but current betting would suggest that Wild is favourite for the job.
However, owner Abdallah Lemsagam may well be seeing how long Wild’s honeymoon period lasts. It looks increasingly likely that Wild will still be in charge for the 4th round FA Cup tie at Doncaster, but his long term future at the club has either been already decided or Lemsagam has taken the kindest option and allowed Wild another crack at FA Cup glory.
As I’ve said elsewhere, Wild is, without doubt, the cheap option at present and given that Oldham are in need of a decent run of form to keep in sight of the play off places, the introduction of a new manager might interrupt the current decent run of form and incur unnecessary expense.
Many Oldham supporters would be happy for Wild to continue in charge as long as he had a decent sized squad to chose from. The departures of Sam Surridge and Ishmael Miller and the injury to Chris O’Grady have left Wild with very few forward line options for this weekend, and a new striker must now be the club’s main priority.
It is glaringly obvious that having lost top scorer Surridge, Athletic cannot get by with propping up the team using inexperienced youngsters. If we were in mid-table with 10 games remaining and in no danger of relegation I could understand blooding a few youngsters but we have 19 games left in which we could easily get into the playoffs and that has to be worth aiming for.
At the very least, there has to be a couple of players who fancy a crack at glory in the FA Cup 4th round on January 26th. If the carrot and stick approach works why not use it?
Signing a defender might not be seen as a priority by the supporters given that we are enjoying a positive goal difference for the first time in ten years. The form of players like Daniel Iverson in goal and defenders Edmundson, Hunt, Hamer and captain Peter Clarke have been excellent and the only thoughts on signing a defender should be to cover for injuries.
The next few weeks are critical in how this season pans out for the club with games against sides at both the top and bottom of League Two. It is not always wise to leave signings to the last minute in the January window but it looks like that is what might be happening.