It can be reasonably argued that Oldham face a heavy defeat at Lincoln tonight. The League Two leaders may have had a few draws at home in recent weeks but they haven’t lost a league game since Boxing Day, and despite the attentions of Bury and Mansfield, remain favourites to take the title.
They have achieved top spot by being aggressive and direct which isn’t pretty to watch but in League Two serves as a successful potion. Latics on the other hand, whilst at times being able to play in an aggressive manner, often fail to keep that up for the entire game and have suffered the consequences.
It is difficult to see how Paul Scholes can change his side defensively other than to bring in untried youngsters. There would be no better folly than to pitch them in against the league leaders and, ask them to put in a better defensive performance than that which has already been displayed.
It would be far better to instruct the side to keep the ball for longer periods. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing the ball continually given away when a little concentration could reap rewards.
I am at a complete loss to explain why Latics ‘switch off’ late in the game and gift the opposition winning goals but giving the ball away has a great deal to do with it. Assistant manager Mick Priest standing in for Paul Scholes on Monday, also hinted at the lack of concentration and the fact that several of the players look fatigued.
It is difficult for many Latics fans to swallow the idea that we may get turned over by a club that was in the National League three seasons ago but, there have been a lot of hard facts we have had to swallow in the last few years.
It is possible that Lincoln might be suffering from an attack of the jitters but they will certainly fancy themselves against Latics. Especially as a win would take them five points clear at the top with just nine games remaining.
If Oldham can grab an early goal (and recent form suggests that we are likely to get one goal at least) then concentrate sufficiently for the remainder of the game, they could cause an upset. Lincoln arrived at Boundary Park in the fixture back in November fulling expecting to take advantage of Latics poor form but could only manage a draw.
A positive result tonight might show Latics fans that Scholes has fixed the lack of concentration and is moving in the right direction .