Tag 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.

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?

Give them minutes: Wigan Athletic simply must give these 2 outcasts a chance to shine

Wigan Athletic has won twice in the last five matches with them currently sitting in 19th, 3 points above the bottom 3. The Latics host Nottingham Forest on Sunday at 2pm.

The Latics lost yet another away match at Sheffield Wednesday before the international break. Paul Cook is a man under pressure, however, getting something against 2nd in the Championship could ease it slightly.

After Forest, Latics have an important away game against struggling Derby County. A match they will be looking to finally get the away victory monkey off their back.

Let’s look at a couple of players that might feature more regularly in the coming weeks…

Lewis Macleod

He impressed with his ability on the ball in the opening couple of matches that he started. Joe Williams has since taken his position, and been outstanding.

In Wigan’s home games, many fans would like to them dominate the ball more, sustain attacks and really push the opposition back. Macleod is a player that keeps the game ticking, he might not play the most decisive passes all the time, but what he does is effective.

Keep feeding the ball to Lowe and Jacobs, your creative players and let them do the rest.

Cedric Kipre

Although Charlie Mulgrew and Dunkley have been good the last couple of games, starting to build a partnership and will likely start together again.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Kipre was introduced at some point, to try and stop the threat of Forest. Especially if Wigan takes the lead and are under pressure, Kipre is very good at defending balls into the box.

Sunderland fans react to ex-Bolton boss’ appointment – ‘Disappointing if he was the best candidate to apply for the job. Shows how far Sunderland have fallen’

The news broke today that Sunderland has appointed former Bolton Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson, following the dismissal of Jack Ross last week.

Parkinson arrives with Sunderland in 9th in League One and one win in the last four league matches.

Parkinson has a rich history of lower league promotions with Bolton, Colchester and Bradford City. Surely the Black Cats will be hoping things go the same way and they refind themselves in the Championship next season.

In true Twitter style, there as been plenty of reaction today and not surprisingly plenty of backing for the new man in charge…

Footballing rivals: Wigan Athletic’s biggest rivals and why

According to GiveMeSport Wigan Athletic’s main rivals are Bolton Wanderers. Bang on, shame we won’t play them till 2089. Followed closely in second by Preston North End, then the irrelevant ‘derby’ Blackburn Rovers.

I personally don’t believe in all this having two or three rivals, you have one derby and that’s that. For us it’s Bolton, and if you turned up to a Wigan vs Bolton matchday, you’d know why.

Preston is always a feisty affair and is more of a traditional derby that has died down over the years. While the Blackburn fixture is nothing, when Wigan and Rovers went head to head in the 2017/18 season for the League One title, there was a lot of back and forth between the two sides. Nick Powell or Bradley Dack and all that.

Anyway, a couple of my best memories from playing Bolton. My favourite has to be James McArthur netting a late winner at The Reebok, that was a massive win for us and the first time I’d seen us win there. Uwe Rosler’s first home game was special. Wigan 2-0 up cruising, only for Bolton to score two quick goals, before Callum Mcmanaman made it 3-2.

Finally, in all seriousness, we won’t be playing Bolton for a very long time. They’ll likely be relegated to League Two and we’ll be playing Championship football, if not European for the next few years. At least we beat them 5-2 in the most recent fixture, give them a good send-off.

I’m not even going to talk about the Preston games. I’m never going to Deepdale ever again. Been three times, we’ve lost 1-0, 4-0 and 3-0. Arguably the three worst Wigan performances I’ve ever seen. So we’ll leave it there.

33y/o making the difference at Wigan Athletic

In an interview with Wigan Today. Wigan Athletic captain Sam Morsy has hailed the impact of Charlie Mulgrew as ‘frightening’.

The 33-year-old was a somewhat surprising addition when signing on a season-long loan from rivals Blackburn Rovers on transfer deadline day. He was their Captain for a spell, before falling out with manager Tony Mowbray.

The Scottish international offers the typical defensive qualities that you expect – strong, physical, a leader and has formed a solid partnership with PFA player of the month Chey Dunkley already.

However, he brings that extra dimension to his game, with his superb set-pieces. Corners, free kicks or penalties, Mulgrew can do it all.

Morsy said: “It’s a new weapon that we haven’t really had in previous seasons – a set-piece specialist. Obviously we’ve played against him a few times over the years, and the delivery he has is frightening.”

“If you’re looking for someone who’s going to come in and provide so many assists and goals…he’s like a £10 million attacking midfielder.

Rochdale need one player to turn it on in order to surge up the table

Rochdale currently sits 19th in League One, after picking up just one point from their last five League One games.

Although, their league position doesn’t reflect their performances. Whenever I’ve watched The Dale this season, they’ve been by far the better side. Brian Barry-Murphy has a young side playing positive, attractive football.

Even if Rochdale don’t mount a serious challenge for the top six, they can still be proud of the football they are playing, which provides hope for the future.

For example, the home game against Sunderland was one-way traffic. Rochdale dictated possession, opened up Sunderland time and time again, but couldn’t find the goal. The Black Cats had a couple of shots and scored both.

If Rochdale is competing and outplaying a side of their quality, they have nothing to worry about. A little more luck and quality, they’d have won that game comfortably.

The majority of their goals have surprisingly come from midfielders Callum Camps, Stephen Dooley and Aaron Morley. The focus for the rest of the season must be to start feeding striker Ian Henderson with more chances. The 34-year-old scored 20 goals last campaign, a brilliant return for a side that struggled for most of the season.

Their season rests on Henderson. If he can hit a hot streak and bag double figures, who knows, they could even make a late run for top six. If I was a Rochdale fan, I’d be happy with the start they’d made.

Although they’d like more points on the board, they’re playing good football and once Henderson starts banging goals in, they’ll fly up the league. It’ll be interesting to see if the owners back the manager in January, do they have the ambition to push for the top six?

Wigan Athletic will be hoping this break can lead them up the table, agree?

Wigan Athletic started their 2019/20 Championship campaign poorly, and indifference of results is not helping matters at the DW Stadium

Paul Cook has come under criticism from Wigan fans, following a string of results that saw them briefly drop into the relegation zone. His side has won just one of their last 25 away games in the Championship, not many managers would survive that.

However, let’s not forget Cook won the League One title with the club at first attempt. Then guided the club to safety in the Championship, something they hadn’t manage to do during their previous two attempts. So, he’s earned himself time.

Wigan spent the most they’ve ever spent in a transfer window, since the Premier League days. With that brings pressure, if a manager has better players at his disposal, fans expect better results and performances, that hasn’t quite worked out for us so far, but there’s plenty of time left in the season yet.

I said at the start of the season that mid-table would be a success, I reiterate that now and think we’ll achieve it. I’ve been critical of Cook too, but it’s because I demand and think we can be a good side. Our squad of players is good enough to finish 10th-14th in this division, without a doubt.

Last season we were outstanding at home, it’s important we continue that if we want to progress. Jamal Lowe and Kieffer Moore are playing well, I’m confident the goals will come. Hopefully, they can fire us on towards mid-table ahead of the January transfer window, then we can look to strengthen again.

Many positives out of Bolton’s draw with Blackpool

Bolton Wanderers Keith Hill

Bolton Wanderers faced Blackpool last night and managed a 0-0 draw. The Football Manc Cave weighs in.

For the first time in a long time, I feel confident as a Bolton fan. I feel like I can actually bare to watch a game. I’m not comparing this to the times we were in financial difficulties, I’m talking about the past 5 years or so. Bolton is actually an exciting team to watch again.

Last nights game was highly anticipated as Blackpool are in the top quarter of the League One. Bolton had already proved that they can match top teams performances following the point from Sunderland, so I was actually excited for this game. I must admit, I expected a few goals but I’m happy.

I predicted the Bolton line-up yesterday and I was only one player out, I guessed that Keith Hill would choose either Dennis Politic or Thibaud Verlinden, and not start them both but he did. I think Keith Hill has been quite anxious about playing both of them together due to any potential injuries to either, as they can interchange in the same position

Dominant in attack

Bolton actually dominated the game. We had chances, made attacks and tried to score. That’s all fans have wanted to see for a long time. Looking at Liam Bridcutt, Jason Lowe, Dennis Politic, Ali Crawford, Will Buckley, Thibaud Verlinden and Daryl Murphy and how they have clearly been working hard on how to play together is so refreshing.

Keith Hill has worked wonders with his team. The defence we now have is also so much better to watch. There were times last night when I worried but I clearly didn’t need to be. Joe Dodoo also made his Bolton debut last night when he got brought on in the second half. A few of his chances looked promising so he’s one to watch for us.

Defensive Bolton

Stating Yoan Zouma has worked a treat. He gave away a penalty against Sunderland and I have said all along that if he didn’t keep on getting starts then his confidence would get knocked. However, Hill has kept him in that starting line up and he did a great job last night.

Josh Emmanuel is also developing and adjusting very well. Jack Hobbs is proving himself to the fans as he is constantly getting into the league team of the week and, even bagged himself, man of the match, last night. The defence clearly had a great game because Remi Matthews had a relatively easy night which is something I like to see.

Injury to the Captain

Liam Bridcutt has been an absolute delight to watch. His skill and hard work on the ball have made it easier to watch us attack and push forward as a team.

Unfortunately last night, after a bit of a stumble, Blackpool forward, Armand Gnanduillet landed awkwardly on Bridcutt’s chest and for a moment it looked like he was going to be okay as he breathed through the pain and came back on to the pitch. However, he was then seen crouching and passed on the Captain’s armband to Lowe. He really didn’t want to come off, and no fan did either. It was revealed later on that he fractured his collar bone.

This is a huge blow because he could be out for up to 8 weeks. Just our luck.

Either way, I’m going to be gutted when some of these players have to return to their parent clubs. They’ve all been a huge credit to us and helped us in our journey to start to rebuild.

I love Keith Hill’s strategy’s, determination and mindset. He has said that we will beat the bookies and he’s already doing that, so I am excited about the future of our club.

One thing that did baffle me last night was when Dennis Politic got substituted. He looked to the fourth official to check that it was actually him being subbed and gave a bit of a smirk which to me said he didn’t agree with the situation either.

I do understand that he’s a younger player who’s fitness needs to be put first and I am behind Hill, although, last night, it looked to me like Politic had a lot more to give. I think he would have benefited more from taking Verlinden off who was already on a yellow card.

That aside, we got a point, against Blackpool. We beat the odds again and I couldn’t be happier!

Bolton fans happy with their progress ‘Decent performance, improving every week, up the whites’

Bolton Wanderers Keith Hill

Bolton Wanderers are making strides under new manager Keith Hill. The Whites have lost just one of their last four league games and came close to toppling title favourites, Sunderland.

It’s clear they are struggling to score goals. However, Hill has his side organised, disciplined and fighting for everything – which will stand them in good stead for the remainder of the season.

As the famous saying goes, if you can’t score then don’t lose. I think the goals will come, Daryl Murphy will hit the net if given chances. It’s down to their creative players like Joe Dodoo and Will Buckley to create his opportunities.

Bolton was the better side last night, without threatening Blackpool’s goal regularly, but at least they’re heading in the right direction.

Let’s see what their fans made of it…

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