League Two football can never be described as ‘pretty’. There are a number of players capable of producing the odd flash of brilliance but on the whole, League Two is the place finesse goes to die.
It is unsurprising then that League Two champions Lincoln’s approach to the game consists of throwing themselves to the ground at every opportunity, barging the opposition out of the way and having a goalkeeper who can deliver the ball from box to box on a regular basis. This method was ably demonstrated in their recent win at MK Dons.
It would be churlish to suggest that Oldham should adopt a direct game in an effort to escape League Two next season but, one of the ingredients that have been missing lately are players whose only mandate late in a game is to get the ball upfield as far as possible. A four-game sequence saw Latics concede in the 90th minute at home to Crewe, Morecambe and Stevenage and Bury away losing out on a possible six extra points.
As yet it is unknown what the squad will look like after the last game of the season has been played out. However, as far as defenders are concerned and if rumours are correct, skipper Peter Clarke may move on and on-loan Alex Iacovitti will be returning to Nottingham Forest leaving a void in the sort of players we need who can play ‘ugly’ football when it is required.
There are always a good number of players around who will fit that requirement and two that would certainly be suitable and available are:
Mansfield’s 25 year old left back has also played as a centre back and in midfield for the Stags this season. He has an option of a further one-year extension to his contract which expires in June, but with the club on the verge of a move into League One his direct style may be deemed as useful in League Two but lacking substance in a higher division. He has not produced many goals but managed to find the net direct from a corner against Northampton.
The 32-year-old Bolton captain and defender would be the perfect replacement for Peter Clarke. Strong in the air with good concentration and blocking skills. He is described as being a threat at set pieces and a good player to have if the ball needs clearing quickly. His only weakness appears to be his passing ability.
Given that all of the Bolton players have an uncertain future, Wheater might be persuaded to drop a division given that he would be able to remain living in the area, and presumably has plenty of experience of being part of a squad playing for a club with a controversial owner!