Tag Archives: Urko Vera

Two Players That Could Be Shown the Oldham Athletic Door This Summer

There have been times this season when Latics looked painfully short-staffed, but the days of having a large squad seem to be something we can’t possibly afford any more.

Having said that, there are some players who have been given the opportunity to shine and haven’t taken the chances offered to them. With the retained and released lists due any day, many Latics fans have voiced their opinions on who shouldn’t be at the club next season and two players immediately stand out as being on most people’s lists…

Urko Vera

Vera’s only goal this season came in the opening minutes of the game at Macclesfield, when he was the nearest player to the ball when Athletic were awarded a penalty. He wasted no time in grabbing the ball and getting himself on the scoresheet but that, in a nutshell, is about all he can claim to have done this season.

For somebody who has played for Athletic Bilbao, albeit eight years ago he has fallen a long way down the football pyramid and, the Macclesfield game was the only one in which he played the full 90 minutes. At 31 he may still have something to offer but it shouldn’t be at Boundary Park.

Jonathan Benteke

Another forward player who has failed to impose himself on the side. His only goal was a tap in against Cheltenham in a 2-0 win back in October last year. He did have opportunities to impress when he was involved in five consecutive games under Frankie Bunn, however, with other players far more deserving of a starting place up front, Benteke was reduced to several substitute appearances.

At only 24 he should be able to find another club but if he can’t make his mark in English League Two football, it is perhaps time for him to return to Belgium or Cyprus where he played earlier in his career.

What Scholes Should Learn From the Lincoln Defeat

Losing an away game against a side who are top of the league isn’t the end of the world, although you would think so given some of the comments on social media yesterday. What slim chance Latics had of sneaking into the playoffs, has now disappeared and the remainder of the season will be played out with the only goal being to achieve a top half league position.It has been Oldham’s lack of consistency which has led them here of course. The fighting spirit we saw which defeated Fulham in the FA Cup has been replaced by vapid indifference. That is surely down to a lack of motivation, and Scholes may well have already targeted certain players to ship out at the end of the season who haven’t really shown any interest in getting us out of this division.

When two forward players in Chris O Grady and Urko Vera are introduced to audible groans from the visiting supporters, the question has to be asked as to whether the squad we have has been strong enough to compete at this level. There are a lot of supporters who don’t think so. All the players who have competed at a higher level need to take a long hard look at themselves and decide whether they want to be remembered for being part of the solution, or part of the problem.

Scholes will have already seen enough of League Two to have realised that the teams who are at the top of the division aren’t there because they play a pretty, free flowing attacking game. Quite the opposite in fact, with Lincoln’s bullish, direct approach coupled with an uncanny ability to fall over at every opportunity seemingly being the key to success. The same can be said of MK Dons, Mansfield and Tranmere.

Nobody at Boundary Park would wish to see Athletic adopt a similar approach, but the one thing I have noticed is the sheer size of some of the players in this division. To counteract the height of Lincoln’s players, the introduction of Alex Iacovitti, on loan from Notts Forest and 6′ 10″ might have been interesting. Instead, Latics back line were battered and subjected to an aerial bombardment that they couldn’t handle. Any summer signings should meet a minimum height requirement or, we are going to face similar problems next season.

One thing Scholes can’t do a lot about is change the mass charge towards the referee whenever there is a foul on an opposing player. It seems to have got worse this season and the mobbing of the referee by the Lincoln players after Jose Baxters foul, contributed to the decision to send him off.

Maybe a mass clear out is needed at the end of the season and, a squad assembled specifically to match those who are going to be heading out of this division in May. That would probably require a certain amount of expenditure and whether that is made available is another story.

What Can Oldham’s New Signings Bring To Boundary Park?

Transfer deadline day doesn’t really excite the average Oldham fan in the same way it does other club’s supporters. This season was predicted as going to be another non-event mainly because we haven’t appointed a permanent manager since the sacking of Frankie Bunn a month ago. I would have thought that having the person who picks the team involved in the signing of any new players, would be seen as key to any business done during the transfer window but perhaps that is wishful thinking.

However, we have signed five players so far and whether stand-in manager Peter Wild had any say in their signings will probably never be known, as the continued rumour that owner Abdallah Lemsagam is signing players and picking the team remains neither proven or denied. Deadline Day for Oldham fans was summed up nicely by one wag on Twitter who said: One in, one out with a twist. It’s the same player.

Urko Vera

Of the five players joining us this month, Spanish striker Urko Vera caused most of the raised eyebrows mainly because of his past experience with Athletic Madrid. As is normal with some of the fans at Boundary Park, he has not been given any time at all to adjust to his new surroundings and after 152 minutes of football, they’ve decided he is no good. Apparently, he is only with us until the end of the season and will need to get involved in the play a lot more if he’s not going to spend his time here warming the bench.

Alex Iacovitti

Also here till the end of the season from Nottingham Forest is Iacovitti who is a 6′ 2″ full back. He has had a good deal of experience in this division having been on loan at both Mansfield and Forest Green Rovers. On joining he said “The club isn’t that far from the playoff places, so hopefully as a team we can go on a run that gets us into the top seven” which is what people want to hear of course but in order to do that we certainly needed the two strikers who arrived at the 11th hour.

Mohamad Sylla

Yet another French player joined the club earlier this month, 25-year-old midfielder Sylla signed an 18-month contract and looked to have had a decent game in the defeat at Doncaster in the FA Cup. Tall and a decent tackler, he slotted in well given that regular midfield favourite Maouche was suspended.

Zak Dearnley

Anyone who can get into Man United’s U-23 set up must be able to play a bit and Dearnley can play on either wing or at centre forward. “The best player we’ve had off United since Martin Buchan” was one comment. Much discussion about how much input Paul Scholes had in this loan signing.

Oladapo Afolayan

Another Premier League youngster who can play in several positions up front. Several options now exist for having a decent strike force.

These TWO Players Need To Step Up & Help Oldham In Front of Goal Today Against Sol Campbell’s Macclesfield

Approaching a game which arguably the club needs to win without a recognised strike force is always going to make everyone a little nervous. When the team you are facing are currently fighting for their Football League lives and have enjoyed a small revival in fortune, a shortage of options up front increases the chance of panic stations.

Without Chris O Grady who will be unfit for the fixture and the sporadic form of Jose Baxter, Oldham’s options for the game were possible to move one of the younger players into the first team squad to play alongside Callum Lang.

However, at almost the 11th hour, a rumour that had been circulating about Latics interest in a former La Liga player became reality when he signed for the club till the end of the season. It might seem a little hasty to suggest that he should make an immediate impact but that is often the best way to get yourself on the right side of the fans. The first player therefore who needs to make an impact is:

Urko Vera

I’m not sure how many Spanish forwards who used to play for Athletic Bilbao we’ve had in the past but I’m betting it’s not many. Joking apart, Urko looks just the ticket for this division being a 6′ 2″ centre forward who should revel in the sort of crosses that Gevaro Nepomuceno is capable of whipping into the box.

A true penalty box player who should get plenty of goals if he’s in the right place and definitely the sort of player we have been looking for. He has had a number of clubs with his best spell appearing to be with CD Mirandes in the Spanish third tier. Moss Rose, Macclesfield might not be any sort of equivalent to the San Mames stadium but it will hopefully be where Urko makes his UK debut and it only remains to say Hello Vera!

Johan Branger-Engone

Johan has had limited chances to make his mark on the first team having made only 16 starts this season. One of his two goals was against Macclesfield back in August and he caught the eye with an excellent performance in the FA Cup at Fulham.

Having spent much of the early season games in the first 11 he was not included in the squad or was on the bench in October and November and has since struggled to make the team. It often happens that when a club signs a new player, those who have not made an impact get pushed further down the pecking order and if Johan finds himself included for any part of the game today he must surely put in a performance that catches the eye of Pete Wild or whoever is due to be the next Oldham boss.