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The final touches: What Banide should be getting right in Oldham Athletic’s training this week

It’s safe to say that Oldham’s pre-season campaign hasn’t gone to plan and as it comes to an end, The Football Manc Cave look at a few things Laurent Banide should be working on in this week’s training sessions.

Oldham enjoyed a pre-season camp in Morocco where they trained on the beach and enjoyed swimming. However, the football didn’t go plan as most of the games ended in goalless draws. Things haven’t gone any better on home soil as they lost 2-0 to Stockport at Boundary Park on Saturday.

Fans have been getting extremely frustrated watching their team over the summer and have been praying that League football will improve.

Here are three things that Laurent Banide should work on in training before the start of the season.

Defence

Fans have been screaming at their club to sign new defenders all summer and even though there were quite a few trialists involved in the team on Saturday, they still lost and there was no hope. It’s looking like it may be too late to recruit any new players so when it comes to training, defensive midfielders should be put through their paces in order to be able to pick up the slack at the back. It may not be an ideal plan but desperate measures will have to see some of the players in other positions come through for the Latics.

Possession and Passing

Laurent Banide will hopefully be putting his players through sessions that focus on passing quick and fast and maintaining possession of the ball. Their defence isn’t the only problem as pre-season has seen them not be confident on the ball. Hopefully, if the team can get back on top in defensive areas, they can focus on keeping the ball going forward and aiming to score, which brings us to the next point.

Shots on Target

It took Oldham 88 minutes to produce a shot on target against Stockport, so some shooting practice should be put in place for the strikers. It’s probably safe to say that there’s not enough time for Oldham to perfect all of these areas. However if they can tighten up at the back and focus on keeping the ball, eventually goals will come. Let’s just hope it will be sooner rather than later for Banide’s side.

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.

Banide will be hoping Curacao international can flourish

Who can new manager Laurent Banide look to in his current squad to ensure a better season for Oldham than the last?

With a new manager and assistant coach in Laurent Banide and Bouziane Benaraibi. Oldham have an experienced duo at the helm of the team who have previously worked together at Umm Salal.

The French coaches will be looking to vastly improve the performances and potentially push for promotion, as many would argue that Oldham is a team who belong in the EFL League One. Most definitely not in the fourteenth position of the EFL League Two.

Gevaro Nepomuceno is a 26-year-old winger who joined the Latics in September 2017 and recently signed an extension which will take him to May of 2020. This gives him this season to prove to Banide that he should be a part of his plans.

Gevaro has already participated in 78 games for Oldham since his arrival, scoring 7 goals and assisting 13, during two very unimpressive seasons for his new English side. However, under new management, this international and very experienced player could flourish.

He is also very versatile, having played on either wing, attacking midfield and even left back throughout his career. He will be essential to the maintenance and progression of the League Two side.

If Banide furthers Gevaro’s contract at the end of the season, it will be because he sees him as part of Oldham Athletic’s future.

The 2 Oldham Athletic players who could have a major impact on the club’s season

Who can Laurent Banide look to rely on to provide a successful first season under his newly founded reign at Boundary Park?

With a new managerial approach, Oldham Athletic and Laurent Banide will be hoping for much improved season to that of the 2018/19 EFL League 2 season which saw them finish at a distasteful 14th place.

The Latics should be challenging to regain their once comfortable position in the EFL League One. With Banide’s first gander at challenging in English Football, what players can help make the difference between his glory and his failure?

Alex Iacovitti

Oldham Athletic is set to obtain this 21-year-old centre-back on the 1st July 2019 permanently after a loan spell with the club. His strong left foot allows him to feature at left-back also.

This young man has been contracted with Nottingham Forest since 2016, featuring loans to Mansfield Town and Forest Green. He has 31 EFL League two games under his belt already and is looking to progress his career with solidity in the starting eleven of Oldham Athletic.

Mohamad Sylla

This French central-midfielder joined the Latics in January 2019, during the midst of a terrible season featuring multiple managers.

With the French manager Laurent Banide coming in to offer stability and projections of a positive future. His effect on Sylla is something to keep an eye on throughout the 19/20 season; can Oldham Athletic develop a French connection of their own?

He has featured in 15 games in the League for the Latics so far. However, with a full season under an experienced manager of the same nationality, he could prove vital to the progression of his new team.

2 Wigan Athletic players that need to leave this summer

Wigan are set for a summer clearout. Dan Lavercombe, Jonas Olsson, Shaun Macdonald, Callum Mcmanaman and James Vaughan were all released following the expiration of their contracts; while Nick Powell is expected to join Stoke City in the coming weeks.  

As expected, Reece James, Antonee Robinson and Christian Walton have all returned to their full-time clubs, which leaves Wigan’s squad looking threadbare.

After consolidating in the Championship last season, finishing 18th. Paul Cook will be looking to build a squad that can challenge for mid-table next season. With limited transfer funds, the Latics manager may look to offload a couple of fringe players, to raise money for a number of recruits.

Let’s have a look at two players who may be leaving the club this summer…

Jamie Walker

The Scottish winger has failed to make a positive impact since signing in January 2018. Walker has made just eight appearances for the club and is yet to score. Cook sent him on loan to Peterborough, however, he quickly fell out favour, playing just 12 times in the 2018/19 campaign.

It’s very unlikely that he is part of Cook’s plans. With rumours of him returning to Hearts, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they came to fruition.

Devante Cole

Cole was signed in the same window as Walker, in hope, he would provide that extra firepower to get us promoted from League One. Unfortunately, despite a couple of bright performances, his move has never worked out.

Similarly to Walker, he was loaned out to Burton Albion in League One last season, to find some form and confidence. He didn’t have a positive impact at The Brewers, unfortunately. I expect a number of clubs in the EFL will be looking to sign Cole, and he will be sold. He’s simply not good for this level.

Banide has three key areas he needs to strengthen for Oldham Athletic to win a surprise promotion in his first season

Laurent Banide was appointed Oldham Athletic manager on Tuesday. The Frenchman has spent the majority of his managerial career in Qatar and never managed in England, so to say it’s a shock, is an understatement of the century.  

The appointment has certainly split opinion with The Latics fan. It’s either going to be a masterstroke or nightmare, with most fans expecting the latter. The Oldham faithful expected their new manager to have EFL experience, who could battle through the club’s current ‘off-field’ problems, and sign loans/frees who he had connections with.

Anyway, good luck Oldham. Maybe you’ve found the League Two Pep Guardiola, it’s a gamble that will probably make or break their season.

I look at three things that Banide must do ahead of the 2019/20 campaign if they want to mount a promotion push…

Start the season well

If a managerial appointment has split opinion, you need to get the doubters on your side early. Otherwise, things can quickly go pear-shaped. Banide needs to win a couple of home games early, show the players are up for the fight and behind the manager.

Aim to make the fans proud to be Oldham Athletic fans, and excited to be at Boundary Park. A few comfortable wins, positive football and connect with the fans – as easy as that Banide, over to you.

Get the fans on side

There was a largely negative reaction to the announcement of his appointment. Banide needs to have a clear plan for the club. Show his ambition and convince the fans he is the man to take Oldham forward.

Loyal fans will stick with their club regardless of division, managers or players because they are supporters. However, the Frenchman needs to have the fans backing ahead of the season to succeed. Any broken relationships with players or fans will surface, and negatively affect performances on the pitch.

Sign a goalscorer

In League Two, if you have a regular goal scorer who can bag 20+ goals, you’ll generally be challenging at the right end of the table come May. A man of Banide’s experience will know scoring goals is key, particularly in leagues that are competitive and provide tight contests.

Callum Lang scored 16 goals for The Latics last season, I wonder if they’ll explore the possibility of him returning on loan, should Wigan be looking for him to gain more experience in the EFL.

‘Do well find a club with a worse preseason schedule than ours’ Wigan Athletic fans unhappy with pre-season plans

Wigan announced a pre-season friendly against Premiership outfit Everton, to be played on Wednesday 24th July. The Latics will also play host to Lancashire rivals Burnley on Saturday 27th July.

Both fixtures will give solid tests’ to Paul Cooks side ahead of their 2019/20 Championship campaign. Before the two home games, they will travel to Chester, AFC Fylde and Bradford as part of their preparations.

The fans were hoping for a sunny trip to Portugal or Spain. However, they will have to settle for a trip to Blackpool tower after visiting AFC Fylde… at least you can buy some Blackpool rock, silver linings and all that.

Let’s see how Wigan fans reacted to their full pre-season announcement…

Cook has three key areas he needs to strengthen for Wigan Athletic to try and hit the playoffs

Well, after a positive season in the Championship (for a change), it feels like our squad has been ripped apart and we have to start again this summer. I suppose it was expected considering three of our best players were on loan, and Powell was always unlikely to sign a new contract.

We still have the foundation of a decent squad, however, we still need a squad overhaul to ensure we have competition for places. I expect us to loan a few of Chelsea’s youth players, after the outstanding work we have done with Reece James. If this link with Benfica comes to fruition, they could provide us with a few top players also.

It’s a big summer for Wigan. How much ambition do the new owners have? Do they trust Cook to sign a number of young, talented players for decent money, or are we looking at signing frees and loans? A mix of both, I’d imagine.

Either way, we need to get our signings right. Powell and James were our two best players, we’ve already lost one and will likely lose the other. Furthermore, we’ve got squad players to buy after Darron Gibson and Callum McManaman were both released.

I look at three areas we need to strengthen ahead of next season…

Strength in midfield

It’s impossible for us to replace James. He’s worth more than our club, genuinely. But what did he offer us – pace, power, ability on the ball, so we need to look at replacing his attributes and signing a similar type of player. A powerhouse. Morsy is more of a ‘ball-winning’ midfielder, so offers that protection for a partner to have the freedom and break forward.

Lee Evans ended the season very well but is more suited as an attacking midfielder, opposed to a defensive one. Mohamed Diame has recently been released from Newcastle, it’s a shame his wages will be a stumbling block, he’s exactly what we need to replace James.

Speed merchants

Cook likes to play with one up front, and that striker is predominantly a ‘target man’. I don’t have a problem with that as it allows our creative players to flourish, and enjoy plenty of the ball in the right areas. However, we need a plan B to improve our away form. We led by one goal in a number of games away from home last season, but couldn’t find that killer second goal because we didn’t have the pace to counter-attack.

Conor Washington is available for free. He’s a striker that can run in-behind and exploit a high defensive line. Fraizer Campbell another. Come on Cookie, I’m doing your job for you.

A new number one

We’ve had Christian Walton on loan from Brighton for the past two seasons, and he’s been brilliant. However, there are no suggestions that he’ll be joining us for a third spell. Jamie Jones didn’t take advantage of a run in the side, therefore Cook will be looking for a new commanding ‘keeper. Jamal Blackman is currently unused at Chelsea, he’s got a wealth of EFL experience and would be a good addition for us.

Two Immediate Things Banide Must Do For Oldham Athletic Ahead Of Next Season

Laurent Banide was appointed Oldham Athletic manager on Tuesday. Who saw that one coming? Certainly not me. The Frenchman has spent the majority of his managerial career in Qatar, then turns up at Boundary Park – probably one of the strangest appointments in recent years.  

The appointment has certainly split opinion with The Latics fan, it has the feeling of a three-month tenure going terribly wrong, and him walking away. Oldham fans wanted and expected their new manager to have EFL experience, who could battle through the club’s current ‘off-field’ problems, and sign loans/frees who he had connections with.

Anyway, good luck Oldham. Maybe you’ve found the next Jose Mourinho, it’s a gamble that will probably make or break their season.

I look at a couple of things that Banide must do ahead of the 2019/20 campaign…

Get the fans on side

There was a largely negative reaction to the announcement of his appointment. Banide needs to have a clear plan for the club, show his ambition and convince the fans he is the man to take Oldham forward. Loyal fans will stick with their club regardless of division, managers or players because they are supporters. However, the Frenchman needs to have the fans backing ahead of the season – show your working hard, start building a squad and connect with the fans.

Sign a goalscorer

In League Two, if you have a regular goal scorer who can bag 20+ goals, you’ll generally be challenging at the right end of the table come May. A man of Banide’s experience will know scoring goals is key, particularly in leagues that are competitive and provide tight contests. Callum Lang scored 16 goals for The Latics last season, I wonder if they’ll explore the possibility of him returning on loan, should Wigan be looking for him to gain more experience in the EFL.

Should Wigan Athletic Be Going All Out for Oldham Athletic’s Edmundson or Focus Elsewhere

George Edmundson is presumably on route to Peterborough or Rangers. Both clubs are battling for his signature, although it seems The Posh have moved ahead in the race, after reportedly having an offer accepted for the young defender.

Edmundson was named in the 2018/19 EFL League Two team of the season and, is attracting interest from a number of sides. Oldham will be hoping for an auction, to raise as much money as possible for their departing defender.

Wigan manager Paul Cook is on the hunt for a ‘ball-playing’ defender, but I think Matt Miazga will sign on loan from Chelsea, which will fill that void. The Latics signed Danny Fox in the January transfer window, who has performed brilliantly since joining from Nottingham Forest. He’s a real leader and comfortable playing out from the back. Chey Dunkley and Cedric Kipre are both young, strong defenders, but aren’t great footballers in terms of distributing the ball from the defence. Miazga would give us that physicality and ability to start attacks from the defence, that Cook is looking for.

I expect the majority of our transfer budget to be spent on a new number nine, to score us 15-20 goals, and the rest on a new midfielder to replace Reece James. Most of our signings will be frees and loans unless we sell one of our assets like Sam Morsy for a sizeable fee. A centre back isn’t an immediate priority, so I’d say it’s unlikely we’ll be joining the chase for Edmundson. Especially considering an auction will likely see the fee rise to around £1 million, Wigan could put that money towards a new striker.

Don’t get me wrong, I really rate Edmundson, and I believe he’ll be worth a lot more than £1 million in a couple of years time, so he’s a very good long-term investment. However, Wigan needs to buy players, for NOW, players that are going to impress from the off and push us up the table next season.

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