Tag Archives: EFL

POLL: Who will finish higher in League Two… Oldham Athletic or Salford City?

Before League Two starts again, both Oldham Athletic and Salford City will be looking to gain promotion this season.

With both teams having a challenging season ahead, it’s time to decide who will have the more successful League Two campaign. One side are newly promoted and looking for another promotion after last season’s playoff win in the National League. The other side finished 14th last season after another turbulent campaign under three different managers.

With fixtures being released, new signings in mind and pre-season friendly’s to come, who will have a better 2019/20 campaign?

Salford City

Newly promoted last season and they’re already causing a fuss with other teams by being one of the most highly anticipated teams of the season. They’ve been picked to go on Sky for their opening game and the Class Of 92 want them to have a successful season. Can they?

Oldham Athletic

With a new man in charge starting next week alongside starting their transfer campaign by signing defender Zac Mills. Oldham are on the hunt to finish higher this season.

Latics have also picked out Salford as one of their key dates. If they can get on top of their team and style of play before the start of the season, can they manage a higher league finish?

Who will finish higher in League 2

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‘Have I actually just booked and paid for Morocco away in a pointless preseason game? Yes, yes I have’ Oldham Athletic fans looking to take over Morocco

Oldham’s pre-season preparations usually involve trips to local non-league sides, but they are heading much further afield in the next few weeks.

Owner Abdallah Lemsagam has organised a 10-day training camp in his home country of Morocco, culminating in a friendly game with Raja Casablanca on Sunday 14th July.

It is not unusual for clubs to take a squad to Europe or further afield as part of pre-season training. However, Oldham has tended towards the Isle of Man, Scotland and a break from tradition with a trip to Lloret de Mar about 50 years ago.

They did win a trip to the Seychelles in the early ’90s for being the club with the best disciplinary record in the Premier League. Striker Ian Olney spoiled the trip somewhat, by elbowing one of the Seychelles team in the face in the first five minutes of the ‘friendly’ game organised by the islands football association. They must have been wondering what they’d let themselves in for.

The Moroccan trip came out of the blue and has given Latics fans very little time to decide whether they are going to make the trip or not. For some, it’s a no brainer:

The club is running a three-day trip out to Agadir for the game, and given that Moroccan football doesn’t get a lot of coverage in the UK, Latics fans will probably have been searching the net to find out more about Raja Casablanca and their fans.

What they will have found is a passionate bunch of supporters, who managed to sell out their 70,000 capacity Stade Mohamed V on 5 occasions last season. The game will take place at the 45,000 capacity Stade Adrar however where Latics will be based.

Moroccan football appears to be everything UK football isn’t with choreographed chanting, massed banks of supporters in a huge stand, flares, smoke bombs and general madness. It looks fantastic.

For Latics supporters and players used to the library like atmosphere of Boundary Park, it will no doubt be an amazing experience if not a little intimidating to say the least.

Plymouth Argyle looking to cherry pick Bury’s best players

Ryan Lowe is set to raid former club Bury for a number of players to join Plymouth. After a number of off-field problems, Lowe opted to switch Gigg Lane for Home Park, now he’s hoping his former players will follow suit.

It’s reported that Plymouth will target the attacking trio of Danny Mayor, Jay O’Shea and Nicky Maynard who combined to help Bury achieve promotion from League Two last season. The manager clearly knows how to get the best out of the players, why change something that isn’t broken?

Sign all three and do what they did last season, bobs your uncle, promotion sorted. If only life was that easy.

O’Shea, 30, played an integral role for The Shakers last campaign, scoring an impressing 16 goals in 50 appearances. Striker Maynard managed 21 goals, which ultimately proved the difference between Bury being promoted and finishing in the playoffs. The situation surrounding Mayor is different, as his contract expires at the end of the month.

Bury fans will probably be frustrated that Lowe is looking to return to Gigg Lane for signings, however, he’s Plymouth manager now. Forget the past, he has a new challenge and job. If he got the best out of players that resulted in promotion, it’s common sense to want to work with them again.

OPINION: Wigan Athletic looks likely to bring Everton’s Antonee Robinson in, how good can he be?

Wigan have made a bid to sign Everton youngster Antonee Robinson on a permanent deal, following a successful loan spell at The Latics last season. Although they have a fight on their hands, with Bristol City and Brentford also interested in signing the defender.

The American international made 26 appearances for Wigan, particularly impressing towards the end of the campaign. Lucas Digne was outstanding in his first season at The Toffees, while Leighton Baines has recently signed a new one year deal, therefore Robinson will be looking for a move away to guarantee himself first-team football.

The 21-year-old initially struggled with the physicality of the Championship, using his pace to rectify defensive mistakes. Although very good at going forward, I doubted whether he’d ever been a good left back because of his inability to defend.

However, since returning from a leg break that kept him on the sidelines for a few months, he was outstanding. Almost looked like a different player. Much better defensive awareness, stronger in the tackle, read the game well while using his electric pace to attack up the wing.

It’s reported that Everton values him at around £2.5 million. I think that’s an absolute steal in today’s market, a couple of good years in the Championship and a Premier League club will sign him for £5 million+. Yes, I’m already thinking about the resale value, that’s the Wigan way.

The ambition of the new Wigan owners has been questioned, with us yet to make a signing. If we sign Robinson, that will be a real statement of intent. Brentford and Bristol City will both finish above us next season, can we tempt Robinson back? Get the war chest open.

POLL: Who was the better player; Wigan Athletic’s James or Norwich City’s Aarons?

Last season it was Bradley Dack vs Nick Powell. Now it’s Reece James vs Max Aarons. James is the right answer by the way, not that I’m biased in any way being a Wigan fan.

Both are very good young English talents. Considering neither had played a first-team match before this season, they’ve had exceptional seasons. Aarons winning the league with Norwich and being named in EFL team of the season. While James won every end of the season award at Wigan and is expected to be in Chelsea’s first-team squad when he returns from injury.

Lets take a look at both…..

I was lucky enough to watch James last season. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen at Wigan. A player that just oozes class and makes the game look so simple. Signed as a reserve right-back, left after playing the majority of the season in central midfield, and bossing most Championship midfielders. Strength, pace, set-pieces, passing, shooting, tackling, brilliant attitude – he’s got it all.

Unfortunately, I’ve not seen as much of Aarons. Although, from what I have seen, he’s a top player. A real modern day full-back who is brilliant attacking-wise, however also very strong defensively.

The youngster scored twice, assisting six and is attracting serious interest from Man United. On the subject, England are blessed with some ridiculous right backs: Trent Alexander Arnold, Max Aarons, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Reece James, even throw Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier into the mix.

Who gets your vote…

Who was the better player last season

  • Max Aarons (63%, 155 Votes)
  • Reece James (38%, 93 Votes)

Total Voters: 248

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Oldham Athletic look to push on this season and learning from the past is a must – agree?

Laurent Banide has a big first season ahead of him, as he looks to inject a higher quality of performance from his new club and avoid another bang-average season in EFL League Two.

Finishing with 7 goal difference in 15th place last season, it is clear that Oldham Athletic need to drastically up their game in order to fight for promotion and get back to League One. Where many would argue the club deserve to be.

Banide and Oldham’s first game of the season comes against Forest Green, who impressively finished 7th in the league last season. This will really put the Frenchman’s new team to the test. If they can provide a solid performance and come away with a point or even three, it could kick start a positive season under the new regime by making their mark against one of the league’s better performing clubs.

It will be a huge task for Laurent Banide to bring glory to an underperforming Oldham Athletic side, and there are high expectations on him to drag the club out of the gutter.

With this in mind, what two key things can Banide focus on to allow his side to challenge for promotion next season.

Hold on to Key Players

Bad timing. As of right now, reports suggest that the 21-year-old defender George Edmundson is undergoing a medical at Rangers. Edmundson was promoted from Oldham’s youth in 2015, where he was sent on loan on several occasions before establishing himself in the team after returning in January 2018.

In the 18/19 season, Edmundson made 54 appearances, bagging 2 goals and 5 assists.

It is clear that Oldham Athletic have correctly allowed this young defender to gain the experience and culture he needs, in order to be a crucial part in the Latics’ setup. However, it seems a terrible move to allow him to leave during a transitional era where players who understand and love the club, should be given whatever they need in order to stay.

A Fresh Start

On the flip side, Banide is the first manager from outside the UK & Ireland to be appointed with the role since the founding of the club. Clearly indicating that there will be a brand new approach, which could be a justification for losing a player like Edmundson.

In recent years, every manager at Oldham has failed to complete a full season with the club, demonstrating that the strategies and recruitment have not been up to scratch. Therefore, Banide should scrap any tactics, signings, and attitudes instilled by previous managers that does not adhere to the new approach under Laurent Banide.

Stockport County will be looking for the double bounce promotion, these 2 factors will help that

The Champions of the National League North, Stockport County, are taking a step up to the National League, but what can they do to stay there next season?

As many long-serving Stockport County fans will despise to remember, this huge club was a Championship side until 2002. Due to the club falling into administration, it’s been a downhill slope for the club which has been playing in the sixth tier of English football for the past six years, until now.

This Greater Manchester based club will take the place of its neighbour, Salford City, in the National League next season. If Stockport can follow suit of Salford, they will find themselves alongside them in the EFL League Two, presuming that Salford is capable of remaining in the division.

Stockport County clinched their first league title in 52 years by finishing 1 point ahead of Chorley, but how can they ensure a finish the fans deserve in their new league in the 2019/20 season…

Investment

A sore subject for Stockport County would be finances. However, Jim Gannon himself said “Only the best clubs that are investing well or have strong management and teams have done well. So hopefully we can replicate the likes of Salford and Fylde, Harrogate and Halifax, who have consolidated at that level.”

This suggests that Stockport County’s investment over recent years hasn’t been enough to allow the club to grow, hence how they have stagnated in the National League North. But now that they have established themselves as real contenders, it may be time to invest in the future of the club and allow them to progress even further.

Goals

Stockport County were very impressive last season, scoring 77 goals. However, in the 2018/19 National League North, teams scored an average of 55.8 goals, whereas, in the 2018/19 National League season, teams scored an average of 57.3 goals. This demonstrates the higher quality and ability of teams in the league, and Stockport needs to be able to keep up with that next season.

Fortunately, Gannon has taken this into account. Stockport recently disclosed that they have signed the striker Alex Curran from Colne, a 20-year-old who bagged 22 goals in 44 appearances last season, and 22 goals in 46 the season before. This young talent will no doubt increase the rate of fire for his new club.

And the manager has some strong words to say about him, “With Alex, we think we have got a player with an outstanding C.V. Over the last two years he’s been one of the main players, he’s a regular goalscorer, provides regular assists and I think we’ve provided a great platform for him.”

Salford City needs to stay focused this year amidst early signs of what’s to come

Recently promoted Salford City will be fighting to go higher than League Two next season. 

The Class Of 92’s team managed to get to the play off’s last season and move from the National League to League 2. They’ll have a tough 18/19 season playing a new set of teams and going into a level of football that will have them in the spotlight, on TV and playing in competitions that the club has never been in before. 

Manager Graham Alexander will have to put his priorities right with the team. He’s managed teams in higher leagues than the National League before, so he’s got experience and hopefully, he will do well inspiring the club but what should they focus on? 

Focus on the League

This season will see Salford compete in the Carabao cup and the EFL Trophy which will be exciting for the team, staff and fans. However, the team found their spark last year and got promoted off their style of play, goals and hard work.

The team should give the competition’s their best efforts, definitely, I just think they should put all their efforts into the league, try and remain in the division and then maybe the next season give the cup games more attention. 

Television & Fans Of Other Teams

If you look at all the posts on social media that Sky and Salford have been posting about cup ties, fixtures and news ahead of this new season. Tonnes of fans have jumped on the fact that Salford has already been picked to go on TV. Their first game of the season against Stevenage has been picked, and now their cup tie with Leeds is expected to be an interest of Sky TV.

The first thing I think Salford need to do is not let the pressure of televised games get to them, and the second thing is to ignore the hate and abuse from other teams. A lot of fans are saying that because of the money and ex-Manchester United players behind the team, that’s the reason Sky are “favouriting” them over other teams.

It may be true but the players don’t deserve the abuse. Adam Rooney even picked up on this in an interview and basically said that “anyone who doesn’t support Man United doesn’t like Salford because of their owners” he also went on to add, “we’ve had tonnes of abuse off people this year but if people want you to fail, all you can do is succeed and move on and hopefully rub it in their face.”

Norwich City should be doing everything they can to keep Max Aarons from Man United – Agree

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is looking for young talent, especially in defence and his next recruit could possibly be Norwich City’s Max Aarons. 

With Antonio Valencia departing the Red Devil’s and an inexperienced Diogo Dalot at the back, it’s clear that United need some more options for their back four. 19-year-old Aarons is on Solskjær’s radar but Norwich shouldn’t and probably won’t let him go. 

Max started his youth career at Luton and was there from 2009 to 2014. He signed for Norwich in 2016 and has developed ever since. In 41 appearances for the club, he’s even managed two goals.

Aarons is contracted to Norwich until 2023 and he has asked to wear the number 2 shirt next season as he goes into his first Premier League season. He hasn’t yet given Norwich any indication that he wants to leave, and the Canaries have explained how they will try not to overspend following their promotion but are equally determined to keep their best players.

Here’s why I think they should keep Aarons… 

Product

He’s a product of Luton Town’s youth. However, seeing as he’s been with Norwich since 2016, they should take the credit for his past couple of years progress and keep him going into a new league. He helped them gain promotion and they will have to play teams like United next season. Instead of selling their best players to new competition, they should be proud of the team that got them promoted and keep them.

Awards

In March 2019, Aarons was named in the Championship team of the season for 2018/19, and he even won EFL young player of the season in the same year. This has got to give Norwich something to shout about and give an exciting prospect as they move into the highest tier of English football. 

Oldham Athletic fans react to the Carabao Cup ‘We might as well have fun on our journey to the National League, lighten up’

The Carabao Cup Round One draw has been released, and here is was Twitter has to say about it.

Oldham Atheltic has drawn Blackburn Rovers away in the first round of the Carabao Cup, taking place on August 12th 2019.

It seems as though Oldham fans aren’t filled with confidence about the draw, whilst Blackburn Rovers fans seem complacent by presuming the tie will be easy for them.

There seems to be a big difference in the confidence of the fans.

If Banide’s Latics can pull off a fantastic performance against Championship side Blackburn Rovers it could signify a new era Oldham Athletic, and if they lose the tie, it seems as though nobody would be shocked.

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