Tim Stoodley looks ahead to Saturday's clash with Oldham Athletic.
Peterborough United return to Cambridgeshire after a midweek trip, to face relegation-threatened Oldham Athletic in a Sky Bet League One clash at The ABAX Stadium (3pm).
The Latics have pretty decent recent form heading into this one, losing just twice in the last ten games, but are very much in a fight for survival. They’re safe by one spot, but nearest rivals Port Vale do have three games in hand over the Greater Manchester outfit.
This will be Oldham manager, John Sheridan’s, fourth game against ‘Boro this season. He was in charge of Notts County for the FA Cup second round tie, and subsequent replay. He then left Nottinghamshire and joined Oldham, just in time for the reverse of this tie at Boundary Park. It’s his fourth spell as manager of The Lactics and in this tenure has overseen 14 games, winning an impressive seven, guiding his team out of the relegation zone in doing so. They’re a team heading in the right direction, so expect them to head to The ABAX full of confidence and zest. Sheridan traditionally likes his side to play a patient, gradual build-up play and will normally field a 4-4-2, although a 4-3-3 has also been employed recently. Interestingly, the Oldham squad is the third-highest in the league, in terms of utilising non-English personnel, with 46% of their squad hailing from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or abroad.
One such player is Welsh number 10 Aaron Amadi-Holloway, who joined the club in January, having been at the club on loan previously. Since joining at the turn of the year he’s already gone on to be the clubs leading assist maker this season, and his joining of the club has coincided with their upturn in fortunes – one to watch then for McCann and his players. He’s best known for his time at Wycombe where he made 52 appearances, and it was while there that he joined Oldham on loan. Since his return he’s made 11 appearances, notching three assists and generally causing issues to opposition defences.
One experienced player to keep an eye on is 35 year old, former Everton and Huddersfield stalwart, Peter Clarke, who forms one half of a regular back two for The Lactics this season. Clarke won the League One play-offs back in 2012 and even represented England at under 21 level 8 times. He’s noted for his heading ability plus his off-the-ball skills, such as his determination, leadership and bravery.
One of the brightest stars of Oldham’s squad can actually be found between the sticks, in the form of Middlesbrough loanee Connor Ripley. The 24 year old is very highly rated and has represented England at all youth levels up to under 21. He’s an imposing figure at 6’ 3” and has already played for his parent club twice in the league. Ripley’s reflexes are his biggest asset, but he’s also impressive with his handling skills and command of his area, his only weakness being his decision making, which you would expect to grow with age and experience. Devon-based Lee Swabey takes up the whistle for this game. He’s often found as a fourth official so this is just his eleventh game of the campaign. In the previous ten he’s dished out 37 yellows and shown red on three occasions. Interestingly he’s never officiated either club and has never been the man-the-middle at The Abax stadium.
Saturday is meeting number forty between these two sides. In the first 39 battles Peterborough just holds the better record with 14 wins to The Latics 13. Oldham were 1-2 winners at The ABAX last season after a late penalty overturned Marcus Maddison’s equaliser. There have been plenty of high-scoring affairs in the recent history of these clubs. In fact there’s been an astounding average of 4.5 goals-per-game for the last nine battles.
Leo Da Silva Lopes returns from suspension for this game, while Marcus Maddison remains a doubt with an ankle injury. Jermanie Anderson and Gwion Edwards definitely miss out through in injury.
League positions; Peterborough United - 11th Oldham Athletic - 20th
Last five; Peterborough United - WLLLD Oldham Athletic - DWLDW
Previous meeting; 24/01/2017 (League One) – Oldham Athletic 2-0 Peterborough United
Average attendances (2015/16); Peterborough United - 5,447 Oldham Athletic – 4,551
Top Scorer (league); Peterborough United - Tom Nichols (10) Oldham Athletic – Lee Erwin (5)
Interesting fact: Oldham have a number of famous supporters, notably; comedy duo Cannon & Ball, former Manchester United star Paul Scholes, Professor Brian Cox, comedian Eric Sykes and glamour model Michelle Marsh.
Tickets for this one are cheaper for all areas of the stadium if purchased in advance and tickets are on sale at www.theposhtickets.com, via the Ticketmaster hotline 0844 847 1934* and in person at the ABAX Stadium Box Office.
*calls cost 7ppm plus your network access fee.