Category Archives: EFL

Oldham Athletic make it 4 unbeaten as they continue to paper the cracks

Oldham Athletic's Mills

Oldham Athletic pulled themselves five points clear of the singular relegation place, with a 1-0 win over Newport County yesterday.

It takes Latics to two wins and two draws in their past four League 2 fixtures.

Furthermore, there has been an overall improvement under Dino Maamria in his first nine games in charge. Three wins, three losses, three draws, 10 goals for and 12 conceded sees them five points better off and +3 goal difference to the previous man in charge.

Compare this to Laurent Binade’s first nine games in charge this season before he was replaced by Maamria – One win, four losses, 4 draws, nine goals for and 14 conceded. Things are certainly looking up for Oldham.

However, it’s off the pitch that isn’t improving. A big section of fans are disgruntled with life under chairman Lemesgan and a project called Push the Boundary seem to be the driving force for change at Boundary Park.

Their aim is to protest on the 7th December, as a voice from the stands.

Oldham have been in steady decline over a number of years, finding themselves in the bottom tier of the football league last season. Being favourites to go straight back up, Oldham ended up with a midtable finish after a succession of managers.

That trend has continued this season, with them already on their second manager after nine games of the season. Finding themselves at the wrong end of the table so early on, they already face an uphill battle to claim a play-off spot come to the end of the season.

Oldham boss feeling optimistic

However, Oldham boss Maamria is feeling optimistic after yesterday’s game. With him trying to close the gap between the team and fans, by dedicating the three points to the travelling away support.

From an outside point of view, it seems that this season is going to be turbulent on and off the pitch. With a clash eventually coming to fruition of fans and the board – which many will be hoping to be the turning point towards a positive future at Boundary Park.

Results on the pitch can only paper over the cracks for so long in the short-term.

Wigan Athletic fans voice their opinion following another defeat ‘it’s time for a change’

Wigan Athletic fans took to Twitter last night to vent yet more anger towards manager Paul Cook following another defeat away from home.

Wigan again lost away from home, taking their winless streak to 5 games in the Championship. They now hover one point above the bottom three. Stoke gained crucial ground on them, with back to back victories in Michael O’Neill’s first 2 games in charge.

Despite being backed in the transfer market in the summer, while bringing in big names like Jamal Lowe and Keiffer Moore. Cook, along with the Latics fans would surely have wanted to build on their end of season form, that seen them steer clear of relegation.

One loss in their last nine games should have been somewhat of a springboard into this season. Especially with the strengthening of the squad in the summer transfer window.

However, four wins out of their 17 games so far this season see Wigan loitering in 20th position. Crucial games against Reading and Luton coming up in the next two weeks could define not only Wigan’s season but Cook’s future.

Many Wigan fans believe the time is now to change…

Wigan Athletic boss hopes returning stars can lift the team ahead of Stoke City

Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook

Wigan Athletic travel to Stoke City in the hope of ending a horrendous away record of 1 win in league 29 games in the Championship.

Wigan (20th) sit above Stoke (23rd) in the Championship by 4 points. Both have had miserable starts to the season and will be hoping this game is the kickstart to climbing up the table.

However, Wigan’s away record is abysmal. Although, with returning stars like Keiffer Moore and David Marshall coming back after successful international breaks, Paul Cook will be hoping that it can lift the squad…

“Kieffer had two exceptionally good games; it was fantastic for Wales to qualify,” Cook continued. “David played and Scotland are on the back of a good run of three wins to finish their campaign.

“Everyone has come back well; it makes it difficult that Kieffer only comes back yesterday but that’s just part of football.

“I think it is great for Wales and the home nations that there is the chance to qualify; Scotland have a play-off coming up, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have a chance too.

“It is great for us that our players are qualifying and getting to play in these big tournaments, which only enhances football in the UK.”

Quoted from WiganAthletic.com

Wigan Athletic feeling refreshed?

After a two week break from the competitiveness of the Championship. Cook would surely be hoping the rest will have a positive effect on the players, as they look to end a run of 4 league games without a win.

Stoke, on the other hand, fired 4 past Barnsley in O’Neill’s opening game. The Potters fans will surely be hoping for that infamous new manager bounce, to climb out of the bottom three and surge up the table.

Paul Cook ended his Wigan press conference with

“For our lads, though, it is about us going down there and making sure we have done everything we can by 5pm to have won the game.”

Quoted from WiganAthletic.com

With Wigan Athletic not losing to Stoke City since 2009 in the Premier League, 10 games in total. The omens are good for a Wigan win.

Wigan Athletic hope these 2 key fixtures will turn form around

Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook

Wigan Athletic fans are getting increasingly frustrated with their team’s performances. Their away form is poor and the results aren’t going their way.

The Latics are currently 20th in the Championship. they sit on 15 points. However, teams below them are catching up.

Luton Town is on 14 points, Middlesbrough is just below on 13, Stoke City are on 11 points and Barnsley is at the bottom on 9 points.

Some fans are getting fed up of manager, Paul Cook. They think it’s his time to go. However, the Wigan team need to focus on each game.

Another criticism that the squad have received, is the fact that they don’t play a full 90 minutes. It’s like the team switch off too early and concede late on.

Wigan also had a poor game at the weekend. They lost 3-0 to Brentford at home and even went 1-0 down after 5 minutes. Cedric Kipre got sent off too.

In a bid to turn these performances around, there are a couple of fixtures that Wigan could take advantage of…

Stoke City away

Next Saturday, Wigan will face Stoke away. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of Wigan’s poor away form.

I am also aware that Stoke won their last game against Barnsley, 4-2. This means they could be feeling confident ahead of their clash with Wigan.

However, Stoke City is below Wigan in the league and the Latics should take full advantage of that. If they can go ahead early, they should stand a chance of taking all three points.

Wigan Athletic away at Luton Town

On the 7th of December, Wigan will travel to Luton. Even though this is another away clash, like many fans, I hope they will be able to take advantage of the fact Luton are currently below them in the Championship.

Luton’s last win was on the 19th of October against Bristol City. Wigan needs to take advantage of that fact and try to take all 3 points.

If they don’t manage to take the maximum points from at least one of these games, I think fans will make it clear that it is time for Cook to go.

Oldham Athletic’s 2 key fixtures to jump-start season

Oldham Athletic manager Dino Maamria

Oldham Athletic are having a tough time down at the bottom of League Two. Even though they have drawn more recently, they need to find wins.

In difficult times for a football club like Oldham, focussing on League Two is something that should be a priority. They recently got knocked out of the Leasing.com Trophy but went through in the FA Cup.

Now it is time to try and get some wins in League Two. Oldham is currently 20th on 16 points. The team’s below them aren’t far behind as only 2-3 points separate them.

Fans are getting fed up with their club. They want change in ownership and management but that doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon.

Therefore, the team will just have to work hard to change things around. They need to start attacking early on in games and defending wins so that they can climb to a safer League position.

With that in mind, here are two fixtures coming up for Oldham that they could take advantage of…

Morecambe away

On Boxing Day, Oldham will travel to Morecambe. They are currently bottom of League Two on 13 points.

If Morecambe doesn’t suddenly improve, Oldham will be able to take advantage of them and try to take an early lead.

Oldham can also aim to improve their goal difference in this game. If they can keep their confidence up, they may be able to score a few in this game. However, they will also have to keep on top of their defence.

Oldham Athletic v Scunthorpe

Oldham will also have to play Scunthorpe on New Year’s Day. They are also down at the bottom of League Two.

Scunthorpe currently sits on 15 points and if they are still struggling next month, Oldham could take advantage of this fixture too.

So this means that Oldham could give fans a nice Christmas and New Years present if they collect as many points as possible from these fixtures. However, they also face Salford City at home on the 29th if December.

This is a lot of game time to take on in such a short amount of time. Fitness will become a priority.

Bolton Wanderers’ 2 Key fixtures to close the gap

Bolton Wanderers Keith Hill

Bolton Wanderers sit on -2 points in League One. However, despite improved form recently, hard work needs to continue to climb out of the relegation zone.

Despite the injury blows within Keith Hill’s squad, he has got his men playing to a great standard recently.

Even though they got knocked out of the FA Cup by Plymouth Argyle last weekend, they have been improving in League One. They have also gone through to the next round of the Leasing.com Trophy.

They recently beat Fleetwood at home, 2-1. This win took them to -2 points. A massive improvement on the -12 they started out on this season.

In order to now climb out of the minus points and relegation zone, they will need some wins. Here are two fixtures they could take advantage of soon…

Bolton Wanderers v MK Dons

This Saturday will see the Trotters play MK Dons. Not only does being at home give them an advantage, but MK Dons being 21st in the League also helps.

When they have been beating the likes of Fleetwood who are in the top half of the table, Bolton should be confident here.

MK Dons currently have 13 points and are struggling. Bolton need to take advantage of that and aim for a win.

Accrington Stanley away

On the 23rd of November, Bolton will travel to Accrington Stanley. The fact that Bolton will be the away team may not favour their chances of winning.

However, Accrington Stanley are currently 19th in League One and are on 15 points. They should be able to use that to their advantage.

If Bolton can get some points from MK Dons, that should give them the confidence to beat Accrington Stanley too.

EFL Decision

Despite the positive thinking about Bolton getting out of the minus points and possibly the relegation zone too, there may be another issue.

Earlier in the season, Bolton couldn’t fulfil two fixtures. After a player strike, their clash with Brentford was called off. Then a player welfare issue meant that their clash with Doncaster also didn’t go ahead.

This has all meant that further misconduct charges could be placed on the club. The Bolton News has reported that the EFL will make a decision and it will be announced next week. Could all the hard work at Bolton be a waste of time?

Oldham Athletic are in freefall, 2 lessons they need to learn fast

Oldham Athletic fans are getting fed up with performances, management and the owners. The team can try to turn this around with some tactical changes.

Last night saw Oldham lose to Fleetwood Town in the Leasing.com Trophy. It wasn’t just a small loss, they ended up losing 5-2.

However, at least that means they can focus more on League Two football as that are out of the competition.

Fans are getting fed up of the performances though. For example, last night, Oldham went 3-0 down before any response.

Jonny Smith was responsible for the goal and he has been outstanding for Oldham so far. However, he is only on loan and the goals keep coming too late.

Oldham have recently made slight improvements. They won 2-0 against Walsall, drew 0-0 with Port Vale and 2-2 with Northampton. They also won their FA Cup clash with Gateshead 2-1.

However, they are still 20th in the League with a struggling 16 points. Scunthorpe and Walsall both sit underneath them on 15 points. Then Morecambe and Stevenage sit at the bottom on 13 points. There’s not a lot in it.

With that in mind, here are two lessons Oldham need to learn quickly…

Oldham Athletic defence

At the start of the season, the defence seemed to be Oldham’s biggest problem. They recruited the likes of David Wheater who came in and made a difference.

He was given the Captain’s armband and acted as leader. Things seemed to improve and then Oldham needed to work on the attack.

However, since the arrival of Dino Maamria, things have gotten sloppy again. Fans already want to see change with the management and owners.

That is something that is out of the team’s control and they need to focus on each game. Defending for 90 minutes to a high standard needs to be prioritised.

Goals

Linking with the previous point, the defence standard needs to match the attack. It’s like Oldham can’t do both.

For example, they have shown that goals can be created. However, they are coming too late in the game. Against Fleetwood last night, it took 25 minutes for any response from Oldham Athletic.

In their draw with Northampton, both goals came in the 80th-90th minute period of the game. If they can start by attacking early and getting an early goal then they can try to defend a win.

Two players that impressed in Rochdale’s win over Bradford City

Rochdale travelled to Bradford City last night in the Leasing.com trophy. Even though they won 2-1, other results in their group have stopped Dale from progressing. However, there was a lot of talent in the squad.

Bradford went 1-0 up last night after 15 minutes. Rochdale then woke up and an equaliser came after 29 minutes.

In an eventful first half, Fabio Tavares also managed to score meaning that Rochdale would win 2-1. The side then managed to keep on top of their win throughout the second half.

Rochdale have been treating this competition as an experiment for their squad. They have been mixing youth team members with experienced players.

It was definitely the youngsters who came through last night. However, it is just unfortunate that Rochdale couldn’t progress to the next round.

They had a tough group to compete in. Bolton Wanderers and Man City Under 21’s have gone through in their group. Putting that aside, here are two stand out players from last night…

Joe Dunne

The 17-year-old deserves all the praise after last night’s performance. He made his debut in the squad and is a future star.

Dunne is a centre half who was put into the squad to see how he played. He definitely impressed with strong blocks, getting stuck into every ball and performing to a great standard.

This is great for the teenager who will now be monitored by Brian Barry-Murphy. He surely has made an impact on fans and management after last night.

Rochdale’s 18 y/o Fabio Tavares

The 18-year-old striker is a name that Rochdale fans will be familiar with. This is because he has already been featured in the first-team squad.

However, last night saw him shine due to being in a younger squad. He is another rising star in the Dale squad.

His goal in the 35th minute was the final goal of the game. This goes to show that not only can the Rochdale squad produce goals, they can also defend well too.

Two players that have to be in the team tonight for Oldham Athletic against Fleetwood Town

Oldham Athletic will face Fleetwood Town tonight in the Leasing.com Trophy. It will be a ‘winner takes it all’ scenario as the two teams will battle to get to the next round of the competition.

The Oldham team will have a trip to Fleetwood tonight to battle it out in the Leasing.com trophy. Only a point separates the two sides in their group.

Accrington Stanley is currently at the top of group B with 9 points. Fleetwood is 3rd with 2 points and Oldham sits 2nd with 3 points. Therefore, losing is not an option.

For Oldham to stand a chance getting to the next stages, the squad must be strong. While some use this competition as a chance to let their younger squad members shine, Oldham fans will want the squad to be the strongest possible.

Here are two players that need to be in the starting line up tonight…

Jonny Smith

The 22-year-old winger has been on top form for Oldham recently. However, he is on loan for the season from Bristol City.

Oldham will need to use him as much as possible this season to get the most out of him. He has recently scored against Gateshead and Northampton.

He now has an eye for goal now and will be looking to score tonight if he is in the squad.

Filipe Morais

The ex Bolton player is very experienced and acts as a leader in the squad. While David Wheater is a great Captain and leader at the back, it seems clear that Morais is having a good impact at the other end of the pitch.

It is also worth mentioning that he scored against Gateshead at the weekend too. This may inspire him to score again tonight.

However, he just needs to stay calm, keep his tackles clean and stay out of trouble. He picked up a red card a few weeks ago and won’t want another.

These 2 players stood out as Salford City ease past Tranmere Rovers

Last night saw Salford City travel to Tranmere Rovers for the final round of the Leasing.com trophy. They managed a 2-0 win and progressed to the next round.

Salford has been competing in the Leasing.com Trophy for the first time. Last night saw them win 2-0 which means they topped their group and have advanced to the next stage.

Collectively, the Salford squad put on a great performance. However, there was two stand out players.

Oscar Threlkeld opened the score sheet after only 2 minutes. Then, the Salford Captain, Liam Hogan managed to head home the winner.

Here’s why both of these players deserve praise for their performances…

Oscar Threlkeld

The ex Bolton player has only been with Salford since the start of this campaign. I have seen him in action and have been very impressed by him in the past.

I predicted that he would be a stand out player for Salford this season, however, he hasn’t had much game time.

Last night saw him start the game and score after 2 minutes. This goes to show that he should be in the squad more often.

Liam Hogan

The 30-year-old centre back started his first game for the Ammies this season last night. He has been watching from the sidelines due to recovery.

Now, he is back with the Captain’s armband on. Fans are happy to see him return. Especially when he scored.

In the 56th minute, he showed that he was back with a bang when he headed home the winner. This clearly shows that he is still working just as hard.

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