When Oldham lost at Stevenage in early November, there were many supporters who felt they had heard that the side had been unlucky too many times. Latics managed to score twice but let in three after being ahead twice. This wasn’t down to bad luck, it was poor organisation on the field.
If you’d said to those same supporters that we would go on to be unbeaten in the next seven games, it is doubtful if any of them would have believed a word of it. Given that two of those games were going to be against sides who were in the top seven (including leaders Lincoln) their scepticism can be understood.
Latics had struggled against teams higher than themselves but more than matched Tranmere and Lincoln inside three days. Coupled with tricky away fixtures in the FA Cup, which were both handled professionally, Bunn can now perhaps pride himself in the knowledge that what has been sown off the field is reaping rewards on it.
There have been injuries to contend with but it is satisfying to note that the players who filled in showed a commitment to getting themselves back into contention for a place. It is the performances in midfield which have benefited the side, however.
Christopher Missilou, Mohammed Maouche and Gevaro Nepomuceno are really beginning to gel and the loss of Jose Baxter through injury hasn’t had the effect that was expected. If anything, the injuries have perhaps given Bunn the opportunity to try out different tactics.
The early season decision to play with a lone striker won no friends for Bunn, and changing that tactic has seen a marked recovery. There is still plenty of room for improvement but it can be argued that Latics are in a much better position now to tackle some difficult upcoming fixtures than they were a month ago.
If climbing the table and reaching the third round of the FA Cup is down to Bunn’s management then we should acknowledge that. Latics fans have been starved of good news for a long enough. Bunn may well be the unexpected bringer of hope after all.