Oldham gets back into the League Two action against Bury this weekend after a disappointing exit from the Checkatrade Trophy against Rochdale on Tuesday night. Many Latics fans, although being disheartened by the manner in which we lost realise that it is our league form that we must concentrate on if we are to get out of the division at the first attempt.
Bury arrive at Boundary Park as the league’s top scorers due in part to the goals scored by Nicky Maynard and Jay O’Shea. It is important then, that Frankie Bunn plays his best defensive line up to stifle the Bury forwards.
Oldham’s defeat at Rochdale had nothing to do with defensive frailties and plenty to do with myopic officials so there is no need to make wholesale changes. However, two players who have been instrumental in keeping Latics’ goal difference in a healthy state must start the game.
Hunt joined Latics on 26 January 2017 in a loan deal lasting until the end of the 2016–17 season. He made his debut four days later, coming on as a substitute in a 2–1 home loss against Bradford City. He signed permanently in July 2017 on a three-year contract. Although he found himself competing with Gevaro Nepomuceno, Hunt started in every match before suffering a hamstring injury. After recovering Hunt returned to the first team on 26 September 2017, and has featured in 21 of this season’s games with some excellent performances.
Oldham’s captain and veteran defender is the ideal player for a game of this stature. A former Bury player, Clarke is tough and uncompromising and has won player of the year at most of his former clubs. He can also weigh in with the odd goal and his screamer against Crewe is already being suggested as goal of the season.
Bury will be looking to edge their way into the top three promotion places but they are not immune from slipping up on their travels. After going ahead to lowly Cambridge in November they were pegged back to 2-2 against 10 men. Hunt and Clarke will be looking to ensure that Bury aren’t afforded the same early opportunities to take the lead.