Tag Archives: jose baxter

Oldham Athletic Fans Yearly Panic About A Lack Of Signings Starts A Month Early

There’s something that happens every year when the football season ends – the players tend to go on holiday.

This is obviously a situation that many fans find difficult to accept but they may have a point. After all, who has ever seen Sergio Aguero or Harry Kane taking advantage of happy hour in the bar of the Rosamar Beach and Spa Hotel in Tenerife, or struggling to inflate a lilo on the beach in Benidorm? Exactly.

If a club hasn’t made significant numbers of signings by the time the fixtures are out then the season can be pretty much written off according to some. Oldham have secured the services of Alex Iacovitti and Gevaro Nepomuceno and, signed 10 youngsters up for the Academy but for some that aren’t good enough with the 19/20 season just 59 days away.

There was an uproar from certain quarters when Jose Baxter and Peter Clarke were released at the end of the season. It was argued that they would be snapped up immediately by our rivals, and return to Boundary Park to wreak havoc on the club for our short-sightedness in releasing them.

Of course, they might well do but at present, neither have a new club or look like getting one…or they could be on holiday.

It is true that some clubs like Northampton have made a number of signings, but with the transfer of George Edmundson still up in the air. Waiting to see how much money we might have to spend, before diving in for the likes of ex Macclesfield forward (Harry Smith) with a staggering 8 goals last season seems perfectly sensible.

There is also a myth that all the decent players will get ‘snapped up’ and we’ll be left with the bottom of the barrel. However, it is a fact that given the size of some Premier League and Championship squads, loan signings often do not surface until the season has started. Both Sam Surridge and Callum Lang didn’t join the club till late July last year.

It would improve the atmosphere that exists at present if the club could decide who their new coach will be, but until then, the more impatient of Oldham’s supporters are doing their blood pressure no favours as the day’s tick by.

Released: Oldham Release Clarke and Baxter – How Will The Pair be Missed Next Season?

Oldham’s retained list was the talk of social media long before it was released, with various opinions on who should be kept and who should be discarded fiercely argued over.

The only real surprise was the exit of club captain Peter Clarke, who had managed 49 appearances this season including some match-winning performances. Clarke was well liked by the fans as demonstrated by his choice as the supporters player of the year. The big question had to be whether at 37 he was able to perform for another season in League Two, and the answer to that is a definite yes.

It seems incredible that the central hub of the side has been jettisoned at a time when Athletic need leadership and experience. The job of deciding who is to stay with the club would presumably be made by the coach/manager. However, given that Peter Wild had left the club a couple of days earlier, the decision to release Clarke must have been taken by owner Abdallah Lemsagam and that is not proving to be a popular decision.

Whoever comes in to manage the side this summer would surely have appreciated a player like Clarke to build his team around. Instead, Clarke will no doubt be snapped up by one of our rivals and we’ll discover our errors the hard way.

Jose Baxter’s 34 appearances this season were mainly from the bench. He only managed two full 90-minute games in succession, which perhaps displays why his release is not viewed as unsurprising as that of Clarke. Baxter has had his share of problems, but on the right day he could demonstrate why he was regarded as Athletic’s most skilful player and with slightly more luck and dedication to the job in hand, Baxter might well have proved to be the player who dictated Latics fortunes in League Two.

He has declared his desire to go into the coaching side of the game with Everton and although he still has a couple of years left in him, it is unlikely that an extra season would have seen him make any more progress than he did this season.

Can Wild Make it Three Wins on The Bounce With This Midfield

Facing a game on Saturday where a win could put Oldham within four points of a playoff place, requires the best players at peak fitness and mental aptitude. Peter Wild knows that his choice for the starting line up at Colchester will be crucial given that Latics are attempting to win three league games in a row for the first time this season.

Key to our possible success is the role played by the midfield players. We have been lucky in being able to watch four players in particular improve as the season progressed. It should not be a difficult choice for Wild to pick the players who have more than earned their places in the last two games but the return of Jose Baxter after suspension could complicate matters.

Wild will probably stick with the winning formula of:

Johan Branger

Not everyone’s first choice but his recent performances have qualified him for a starting place. If Baxter was to be included, Johan would probably find himself on the bench.

Christopher Missilou

An extremely powerful player who had possibly his best game for the club against Tranmere. Hit his only goal of the season against Yeovil in Paul Scholes first game and, if he could add a few goals to his already capable repertoire he would certainly be able to play at a higher level.

Mohammed Maouche

Making up a French threesome in midfield is Maouche who even when not having the best of games shines out like a beacon. His defence splitting pass to Callum Lang for Oldham’s second goal against Tranmere was sheer class.

Gevaro Nepomuceno

Another player who would be sorely missed if he wasn’t in the starting line up. A superb crosser of the ball and a useful player to have who can fill in at full back when needed.

Sub: Jose Baxter

The talented Scouser has struggled with fitness this season but is showing signs of hitting top form. His enforced absence from the side following the sending off at Lincoln, could mean that he is short of match practice. A formidable player to have on the bench however.

Eventful March is One To Forget For Oldham Fans

March is always the make or break month for clubs. The surge for promotion needs to be well under way as does the climb to safety. The number of games remaining by April Fools Day is usually down to single figures and, apart from a few rare occurrences clubs are pretty sure where they are going to end up in the table.

Not unsurprisingly given previous league results, Latics started March with a promising first half display at home to Stevenage with a goal from Jose Baxter separating the sides before conceding an equaliser in the dying minutes. Indeed, Stevenage could have left Boundary Park with all three points after striking the crossbar deep into injury time. Letting in late goals continued a trend which had seen Latics slip down the table and it was seen as a problem that Paul Scholes needed to fix fast.

There was no late goal at Cambridge a week later but despite going ahead in the first half courtesy of an own goal, Latics failed to capitalise on their lead and another disappointing point at a club who had spent most of the season trying to get out of the relegation scrap wasn’t the result we were looking for. With a trip to leaders Lincoln facing us three days later, there was a feeling that we had squandered the chance to pick up points against sides we really should have beaten.

Latics were now without a win in five games which was obviously not the introduction to football management that Paul Scholes was expecting.

The Lincoln game started well enough for Athletic but like on many other occasions this season Latics failed to make their advantage pay and the result was inevitable. The sending off of Jose Baxter was also going to have a bearing on forthcoming games, however, that problem was quickly forgotten when Paul Scholes walked out of the club two days later.

Losing the second manager this season, this one after only 31 days just about summed up the farce that this season has become. The fans turned on owner Abdallah Lemsagam due to his alleged interference in team affairs, but any plans they might have had to demonstrate their wrath disappeared under the Boundary Park rain clouds as the next home game against Tranmere was postponed.

Also postponed was the game at Newport due to International call ups which left just one more game in the month, a home game against Grimsby with Peter Wild back in the management hot seat.

Despite the worry that recent off field events might have an influence on the game, Latics scored a goal in each half without reply and the impressive debut of Alex Iacovitti gave some hope for the remaining games. Given recent events at Boundary Park, March wasn’t much different from the rest of the season. It might not be to everyone’s taste but at least Oldham fans can claim that they are fully prepared for anything life in League Two throws at them.

Oldham Starting 11 Should Look Like This Against Cambridge

There has to be a point in the season when plans for the next campaign start to take shape. Given that Oldham are unlikely to embark on an 11 match winning streak, mid table is looking likely and the introduction of a couple of new faces would seem to make sense. However, we are not yet out of the running so it would be foolish to abandon any hope we may still have. Consequently, Paul Scholes should pick his best side for the Cambridge game which I believe should line up like this.

Goalkeeper 1. Daniel Iversen

An ever present in the team and rightly so. There have been numerous occasions when Daniel has shown that he is not just the best ‘keeper in League Two but, he has a long and successful career in front of him when he returns to Leicester City.

Defender 4. George Edmundson

If there are certain names that go on the starting 11 list first you can bet that at Latics Edmundson’s is amongst them. A product of Oldham’s academy he has been a regular this season, and attracted interest from clubs around the country during the transfer window.

Defender 26. Peter Clarke (C)

Fearless, composed and a natural leader. We really don’t have anyone at present who could replace Clarke at the heart of defence, and take over the role of Captain.

Defender 23. Rob Hunt

It’s common knowledge that when Hunt plays at full back, Nepomuceno can play on the wing and that’s a good enough reason to pick Rob every game.

Defender 34. Thomas Hamer

Another player from the Academy who has the extra ability of a long throw. In League Two football that’s the equivalent of having an extra man.

Midfield 8. Jose Baxter

The most improved player at Boundary Park since Christmas. Can turn a game round with a killer pass and has weighed in with several key goals. Latics fans will be looking for him to be playing a major part in the last 11 games.

Midfield 17. Christopher Missilou

Another player who we have missed when he hasn’t been in the side. Strong and direct but with some lapses in concentration. Still head and shoulders above others who are waiting in the wings.

Midfield 28. Mohammed Maouche

I genuinely wonder where we would be in the league if we hadn’t the services of Maouche. Clever and skilful and the perfect partner to Baxter.

Midfield 27. Gevaro Nepomuceno

Who can forget the pinpoint cross for the winner against Fulham which booked our place in the next round? Wasted at full back although he is perfectly at home there, Gevaro is best suited supplying the crosses for our frontmen.

Forward 19. Callum Lang

There’s not a lot to be said about Callum that hasn’t already been said. Extremely talented and by far a much superior player than many others in the division. Certainly too good to be returning to a poor side like Wigan at the end of the season.

Forward 9. Zachary Dearnley

If you’re going to give a loan player the number 9 shirt, he should be in the starting line up every game. Showed his obvious skills at Bury but tired late in the game. A chance to show what he’s made of is long overdue.

February Analysis: Baxter, Lang and Edmundson in the Spotlight

February was not a good month for Oldham despite an excellent start and the much heralded arrival of Paul Scholes. The early promise shown in Pete Wild’s last game win at Crawley and, Scholes’ debut win over Yeovil has dissipated somewhat with only 2 points gained from the last four matches. That form has eliminated any hopes that Latics could make a late surge for the play offs. With 17 points separating us from the relegation places, an end of season top 12 place is probably the best we can hope for.

This probably appears to be a situation close to disaster for some Oldham fans who expected a swift return to League One. However, given the fact that (once again) Latics are finishing a season with a different manager than they started it with, the fact that we are not approaching our last 10 games worrying about how many points we might need to avoid the drop should be treated as a bonus at the very least.

The Fulham game aside, there have been some extremely positive performances by several players, especially on loan Sam Surridge and goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.  February’s Player of the month vote is being contested by three players who have had differing seasons so far, but there is little to choose between them for Latics fans casting their votes.

Jose Baxter

Given his recent revelations about his off field demons, Baxter has shown that when fit and motivated he can turn in a performance which proves he is one of, if not the best midfielder in League Two. With enough games left to increase his match fitness, Scholes will be looking for Baxter to finish the season strongly and perhaps be in consideration for next season’s plans.

Callum Lang

It’s difficult to describe Callum Lang in more glowing terms than those that have already been heaped upon him. Quite simply one of the best loan players we’ve ever had and a credit to the game. Exceptionally gifted and by all accounts an extremely friendly and approachable individual. I’m not sure if an on loan player has won Player of the Season at Boundary Park but Lang must certainly be in the frame for it.

George Edmundson

Getting Edmundson signed up on a contract till June 2020 is probably one of the best bits of business the club have done in recent years. Already attracting attention from clubs in higher divisions, George has been a rock at the heart of the defence alongside captain Peter Clarke. His inclusion in the side has certainly aided Oldham’s positive goal difference to being the best in many years. A future captain if we can keep hold of him.

Oldham Fall Victim to Another 90th Minute Goal But Scholes is Pleased on The Whole

In Paul Scholes’ first five matches in charge of Oldham, it’s one win, two draws and two losses. Within that run Oldham have conceded four 90th minute goals.

Take them goals away against Stevenage, Morecambe and Crewe, and you’re looking at an Oldham side that could be in 10th position on 52 points and two points off the playoff places. With that comes a completely different mindset, pressure and run into the end of the season.

However, this could be a good thing. It is Scholes’ first job in charge, coming in at the end of a transfer window to a mid-table club. There’s a real chance for Oldham to let Scholes bed his feet in this season, gain some very quick on the job experience and get the team playing how he wants to build towards next season.

Once again against Stevenage, Oldham had a lot of chances but failed to convert. Jose Baxter continued his fine form under Scholes with his third goal in Scholes’ first five games, and following a tough week personally for the midfielder in which he opened up over his depression – it seemed fitting for him to score.

Going forward Scholes’ has to try and work on these silly little mistakes, as they face teams from both ends of the league plus a couple of teams in and around them.

There are 11 games left of the season with Latics seven points off the playoffs and nowhere near relegation to even give it a second or third thought. For Scholes, he has 11 games and a full preseason, to prepare and work with his squad for the 2019/20 season in which they can be a real contender for promotion. Where he’ll be hoping to learn from games like the Stevenage one.

Oldham’s Season Looks to be Over, As Scholes Looks To Build Towards Next Year

There were two very discernible moments in the game against Bury at the weekend. The pendulum swung first in favour of Oldham having a real crack at the playoffs and, then swung back to display to everyone assembled that it was not going to happen this year barring a miracle.

Latics have been guilty of starting games far too late and finishing far too early. It has led to us chasing a game after going behind in the early stages and losing out by not concentrating for the full 90 minutes and letting in late goals.

On Saturday, Latics seemed to have banished the slow start spectre which has haunted their play and, set off at a furious pace which obviously caught the home team off guard. It paid off just 8 minutes into the game when Callum Lang slid in to prod home an excellent cross from Jose Baxter.

That wasn’t the moment when we looked like playoff contenders, however, because despite being ahead we had faced some intense pressure from Bury who in second place in the table, do not surrender so easily at home. With Baxter bossing midfield and Iversen pulling out all the stops in goal as usual, when the half time whistle went, there were many who believed that we had perhaps turned the corner after two poor games against Crewe and Morecambe and were going to give Bury the same sort of treatment that they received in December at Boundary Park.

Nevertheless, despite maintaining the lead until the 70-minute mark, Latics tired and succumbed to two sucker punches within four minutes. Baxter was not the playmaker he had been in the first period and several other players appeared to be affected by this. To the untrained eye, Oldham’s tactics in the second half appeared to be to sit back, give the ball away and hope that Bury wasn’t going to take advantage of the situation.

A team who are currently top of the League Two form table over the last 12 games did not get there by letting slip, the chances handed to them however and it wasn’t long before Latics were staring down the barrel of defeat. At 2-1 down, Latics might well have rallied to at least earned a draw but, that late lack of concentration arrived again for the third game in a row as Edmundsen, Lang and Iversen watched each other instead of the ball and Maynard nipped in for his second, and Bury’s third.

It was at this point that any hopes of participating in the playoffs disappeared. Scholes must now concentrate on building the side he is hoping will challenge for promotion next season, and ironing out the mistakes which have dogged this campaign. If there is anybody used to playing for the full 90 minutes and possibly an additional 5 or 6 in added time it must be Paul Scholes. He should remind his players of what often happened in ‘Fergie Time!’.

The Josè Baxter Conundrum…

The Josè Baxter debate is one that somewhat divides opinion. Is he fit, or is he not? If he isn’t fit, then why not? Should he start or should he not?

The answers to all these questions I suspect we may never fully be told, but utilising Josè correctly is surely a vital key to prising open the promotional doors.

If we take it that Josè can give a decent performance for roughly 45 minutes then would you rather he start, or act as an impact sub from the bench? Obviously, Frankie Bunn prefers the latter but I’m really not sure this is the best option.

On Saturday, Baxter was brought on and we scored three goals. But surely rather than having him up our sleeve, it would be better having him start.

Why chase games when we could be trying to hold winning positions instead. Let’s start our strongest side possible, with a view of trying to get ahead. If after 45-60 mins then he needs to come off then fine but let us give the lad a chance to get us ahead.

Nepomuceno is another currently playing some cracking football but finds himself with plenty of bench time. We need our best players on the pitch, and if they can really only last so long I’d much rather it be from the start.

Whilst it is ultimately the manager’s decision, and yes, so far, it’s been working well (kinda), but tougher fixtures are approaching and we it may not be as easy to get back into games.

Swindon away this coming Saturday is a tough place to visit and, the players will need to be fully at it to get something positive from the game. Two closely matched teams on paper, but I firmly believe that Baxter and Nepomuceno will give us that edge we need.

Start them Frankie, I dare you!