Tag Archives: football league

Oldham’s Pete Wild Is Three Games Away From Achieving The Impossible

There has been much discussion as to how Pete Wild has managed to steer Oldham to within three games of the playoffs with exactly the same squad as Paul Scholes. According to Scholes the problems stemmed from unhappiness in the dressing room concerning team selection interference from Abdallah Lemsagan, and arguments between players but such a malaise doesn’t get fixed overnight. I’m not entirely sure what Scholes expected to find at Oldham but whatever it was, his protestations have been roundly ignored by Latics fans, who now find themselves checking that they are free on the date of the League Two playoff final – just in case.

The simple explanation for the situation Athletic find themselves in, is that Scholes was completely unsuited for the job and Wild very definitely is. Scholes can use his appearances on TV to winge about showers not working at the club, but simple facts will show that he has been upstaged by someone who was coaching kids on a bumpy pitch not that long ago.

Six games ago following defeat at Lincoln, Latics faced an uncertain future with the departure of Scholes and the chances of making the playoffs disappearing swiftly. Wild might well have been forgiven for turning down the opportunity to manage the team again given the supposed behind the scenes issues but he is obviously made of sterner stuff.

Thankfully, he once more took up the reins and results haven’t just improved, they have exceeded all expectations. Draws against Swindon and Cheltenham who were in the hunt for points as well, coupled with a string of three consecutive wins and the latest result against Mansfield, have hoisted Latics into a commanding position despite being in twelfth place in the table.

The key ingredient in Oldham’s end of season plan is their game in hand at Newport on April 30th. There is no longer a need for calculators and spreadsheets as the simple equation is that if Latics win their last three games they will make 7th place. It will require an Herculean effort of course which will give the club their best second half of season finish for over 20 years, however, if Peter Wild can do it, the town better think about an end of season party to match the one Joe Royle got after steering Latics to Wembley nearly 30 years ago.

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Wild Should Be Looking to Strengthen in These Two Key Areas After Oldham’s Chaotic Season

If Peter Wild is given the Oldham managers job at the end of the season, and if he wants it of course, he will no doubt be looking to improve the current squad by getting rid of some of the players who haven’t figured this season and strengthening certain areas where we are in need.

Some would argue that there isn’t a great deal wrong with the squad, it is the person in charge of the club who needs attention but like it or not, Latics will once again be starting a season in the bottom tier and several of the players who have served us well this season are not going to be around.

Top of the shopping list has to be a ‘keeper who is as good as or better than Daniel Iverson. That is going to be no mean feat, given that Daniel has had a terrific season and looked at one stage to be challenging for the record of most clean sheets in a season. Getting a ‘keeper in on loan from a club in a higher division seems to be the most likely option but to do that may mean waiting until the 2019/20 season is almost upon us given that club managers leave it late to decide which is their best team.

The other key area is in attack mainly because of the loss of Callum Lang who returns to Wigan at the end of the season. It could be that Wigan, currently courting with relegation from the Championship might see Lang as a player who could do a decent job in League One should they go down. Whatever happens, Lang deserves to play at a higher level and like Iverson, will not be persuaded to sign for Latics given the perilous state of Oldham’s finances.

Once again, Wild may have to look for a season long loan signing or two as I cannot really believe that Chris O’Grady will still be with the club. Finding attacking players who can weigh in with 20+ goals a season has to be the most difficult of tasks but it will have to be addressed if Latics hold any hopes of getting out of League Two.

There are some who would welcome a period of stability after what has been a crazy season and I’m sure Peter Wild would agree with that.

Bury Must Find a Way to Get Past This in-Form Newport Team

After a spirited second half performance over Colchester last Saturday bringing home a much-needed three points for Ryan Lowe’s side, Bury will need something similar on Good Friday against Newport.

Dom Telford helped resurrect the Shakers promotion hopes, but it will all be for nothing if they suffer a Good Friday defeat in Wales.

Having only lost three times at home in the league this season, whilst reaching the FA Cup fifth round in the process, there has been plenty of positives for Michael Flynn and co, particularly over the past five weeks.

Unbeaten for over a month, spanning five league games, this could be a so-called banana skin for Bury as they hunt down promotion.

The good thing for the Shakers is that they lead the race for the teams looking to steal promotion. The bad news is they can barely afford to lose even one match. From second to fifth- the table looks like this.

Bury 74,

Mansfield 73,

MK Dons 72,

Tranmere 71.

Bury’s last away game is at Tranmere too.

Last Saturday’s win was just what the club needed, following on from the financial drama which still hangs over the club. Ryan Lowe got his players to stand together in a huddle at full time whilst regularly clapped the fans for their support as they sung,’Oh Ryan Lowe’ throughout the game.

However, he, his players and staff are still to be paid as this is written, how long the peace and harmony can be kept up is anyone’s guess. The club will return to court on May 15th with a hefty 200K debt hanging over them. A ‘Just giving page’ has been set up on Twitter to get the staff paid.

Again the hope for all Bury fans is the players can pull thought this fiasco. Lowe has already said that the players will play onto the end of the season without pay if worst comes to worse.

Fans will hope Steve Dale can sought out these ongoing issues, for the fans part, a modest 3,900 crowd last weekend may not have been the dream number they may have wanted either.

That said for the team to throw away promotion would be a great disappointment, although Newport will do their worst. The Exiles return to form sees them only five points off the playoffs and are one of only three top half teams to have not lost any of their past five games.

For Bury however, the race for promotion goes on, with or without pay. How long the players stay unboard with the chairman however remains to be seen.

…And Solskjaer Has Won It!

Every Man United fan knows them words, them words created little goosebumps on your arms, the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. The glorious night back in 1999, the venue was the Nou Camp, two goals in the injury time three minutes to secure the treble for that unbelievable side. It capped off an incredible couple of week for all players, staff and fans.

Solskjaer has been down 1-0 before in the Catalan’s stadium, we all know the outcome. However, 20 years on and things are very different. United simply don’t have the team of ’99, they are also facing a very good Barcelona side who have a certain Lionel Messi in their side. A Barcelona side who are cantering to the La Liga title and a side who could rest 10 players at weekend.

Ole can certainly draw experience from them type of matches, knowing they have to stay in it until the very end – Look at PSG in the last round, albeit a dubious penalty helped them but they still had to be in the position to force the ref to make the call.

United since then have stuttered their resurgence under the Norwegian, and not looked the same side having only won two in six games.

The players will have a point to prove and, a classic European night in one of the biggest stadiums in the footballing world has to force you to up your game.

Ole needs Rashford, Lukaku, Martial, Pogba and even the invisible Sanchez all to show up tonight. They all need to make a statement, one that could define their season. If United do somehow turn Barca over in their own back yard, let’s hope it doesn’t have the same effect as the PSG game in the last round. Otherwise they’ll be in a posiiton of Champions League or bust.

Furthermore, with a very important transfer window on the horizon, Champions League football is a must has they look to overall the squad.

Every Red Devil will be hoping for a 1999 Nou Camp result. What’s your score predictions Man United fans for tonight?

Ole Should Freshen Up the Team With These 3 Fringe Players After 1 win in 5

Some say the wheels are starting to fall off Ole’s reign following one win in the last five matches. A loss to Wolves in both the FA Cup and the Premier League, a defeat to Barcelona and a crucial defeat to Arsenal has left United in sixth.

Against Barcelona the levels were there for all to see with United not registering a shot on target, it maybe highlighted the work Solskjaer’s got to do in the summer transfer market.

A freshen up of the squad is needed not only today but in general, as a much needed revamp should take place this coming window.

Young and Shaw are both out through suspension which will give two players a chance to shine, and with a few injuries peppered throughout the midfield it can serve as a good chance to maybe blood some youngsters or give the fringe players a chance. especially with the return Barcelona keg to come this week coming.

With that in mind, here are three players that should be given the nod today to get the Red Devils top four target back on track…

Diogo Dalot

WIth Ashley Young being out, the player brought in as a long term replacement for then right back regular Antonio Valencia has his chance to cement his spot.

It was clearly evident not only against Barca but for most of the season that Young needs replacing, and Dalot has impressed every time he has been on the pitch.

Marcos Rojo

Although technically Young is Luke Shaw’s back up, United don’t have natural left back within their first team ranks that can serve as a number two to Shaw.

Rojo has played in that position before, and would be the natural choice for Solskjaer. It seems Rojo may be on his way out of the club in the summer revamp, but he can still do a job for United until the end of the season while Shaw serves his Domestic and European bans.

Andreas Pereira

The Brazilian has enjoyed more match time this season, more so under Ole. One of the talents for the future, Pereira could have his chance to show if United need to invest more in the midfield or not with an impressive display against West Ham United today.

Having spent last season out on loan at Valencia, this year should be served as his break out year at United. Especially if he wants to become more than another player who came through the ranks and couldn’t cut the grade at the top when needed.

Rochdale travel to Portsmouth looking to take a step closer to safety

Looking back over the head-to-head meetings between the sides (Stats Via 11v11) the sides have met ten times since 1978. In them matches Rochdale have only managed one win – 2104 – and two draws.

Now in Brian Barry-Murphy’s mind, however much he’d love to win every game, he’d much prefer to take points off the teams in and around them and sacrifice any losses against the likes of Sunderland and Portsmouth.

Nevertheless, the renewed confidence within the squad following only one defeat in his six games in charge, and hoisting themselves out of the League Two relegation zone is there for all to see.

Barry-Murphy has instilled a way to win and got a tune out of a squad of players, who were quite frankly underachieving and under performing under the old regime for most of the season.

An away fixture to a team who have four straight wins under their belt in the league and fighting for a promotion place is not best welcomed. However, Rochdale pushed Sunderland close last week and they can draw experience from that result, alongside the fact they kept a clean sheet in a win mid week in the league since they last played Accrington Stanley back in November.

There are a six points separating 10 places in the league, a couple of wins and Dale could see themselves midtable, however, a couple of losses and they could be back in the relegation zone – it’s that tight.

With games coming up against Southend and Wycombe, who are both on a poor run of results, they are must win matches. So today, even if Dale grab a point it can be seen as a hugely positive result and one that further cements Barry-Murphys amazing turnaround at the club.

Rochdale fans, what do you think the result will be today?

The Rochdale Future Looks Bright Under BBM

I was in the media unveiling of Brian Barry-Murphy at Spotland yesterday. A very happy and relaxed BBM sat there, explaining his vision for the future of Rochdale Football Club.

With overwhelming calls for the ex-player to take the hot seat on a regular basis from many people in and around football, Dale quickly decided that, even after four games, the time was right for the appointment to be made.

BBM’s start to has been impressive, winning two and drawing two after a poor run of form which has led them into the relegation zone.

Rochdale are now within touching distance of safety, and hold a very important game in hand over some of their close rivals. In what should be a thrilling, if not nail-biting end to the season in League One.

Having worked under the old regime, while he learned his trade. BBM has a grasp of the players, the staff and the youth academy already in his arsenal. This has been made apparent by his unbeaten start. He was quick to point out that he would not be making an assistant manager appointment, as he looked to rip up the old styled layered managerial blueprint.

Instead, he is opting for a team of staff to all aid in other ways, and work together as one towards the same goal. Rochdale are a well run club, the timing of the appointment is to start the planning and recruitment process for next season, for either League One or League Two.

It’s refreshing to see a club with foresight to plan for not only all outcomes, but to budget accordingly – especially in light of what is happening at neighbours Bury and Bolton at the moment.

BBM will look to continue Rochdale’s youth development and is eager to see many pass through the ranks in the seasons to come, With him quoting there are many exceptional talents within the youth squad just waiting to be unearthed.

He wants to give the fans performances to be proud of, and hopes the results will follow suit.

I certainly felt a feel good factor within Spotland and one that can hopefully keep transcending onto the field. I think BBM is the man to keep them up and next season good times are ahead for Rochdale.

Rochdale fans, what are your thoughts on the new man in charge?

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