With our thanks to Chris Stringer who is a writer for D3D4football.com. You can read Chris’s preview of the December match which Argyle won 4-1 here http://argyle.life/the-opposition-view-oldham-athletic/
Hi Chris and thanks for talking to us again. First of all, what were your thoughts on the game at Home Park in December?
Travelling nearly 6 hours to lose 4-1 wasn’t exactly the finest way to celebrate Christmas. From an Oldham perspective, it really was a poor performance – 2-0 down after 6 minutes was far from ideal and the performance showed a lack of quality from Latics. Plymouth, on the other hand, made light work of the Oldham team and showed they are a force to be reckoned with. My match report can be found here: http://d3d4football.com/d3d4-match-reports-game-week-23/
What lessons do you think Oldham can learn from the game and would you set up at all differently to face Argyle on Saturday?
We have Kean Bryan back in the side who was badly missed in the match at Home Park however I can’t see the defensive fortunes of the side being improved, since there are currently only 3 defenders eligible to play – with Rob Hunt and Anthony Gerrard injured and George Edmundson suspended – we are also still lacking a regular goal-scorer without Eoin Doyle. I’d hope that we have learnt to watch Carey more carefully, who has been in fabulous form. Other than that, it’s a case of avoiding the silly errors that so deeply cost us last month.
Oldham’s form has been dreadful over the past few weeks. What do you think are the main reasons for this?
We have lacked a goal-scorer since Eoin Doyle returned to Preston. Kean Bryan and Jack Byrne were also missing for a few games – though they have since returned to the club. We’ve also had issues with registering players whilst our takeover has been going through; this has taken focus off the football and I think the players have been distracted. I suspect once the takeover is completed and the new owner has settled that the team will return to winning ways.
Have there been any bright spots during the bad run? Who has been the worst of a bad lot?
It has been tough to watch, it’s hard to pick out an individual that has been particularly good or bad. The team has showed that they can still move the ball around well, though. Despite the poor performances, it is clear the team does have the potential to play really good football.
Is manager Richie Wellens starting to feel the pressure a little following the bad form?
Yes. He’s said in an article with the Manchester Evening News (https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/oldham-athletic-richie-wellens-latics-14201987) that he is feeling under pressure: “I know the game of football. If I was a player and I wasn’t performing week in week out, then there wouldn’t be a new contract for me, and it’s the same for a manager. I’ve got thick skin and I’m a fighter. I’ll fight to keep my job and to keep my team together”. I’m confident he is the man to lead us up the table and I think he does need to be given time to build a good team.
How do you think the January transfer window has gone so far? Keeping Jack Byrne must be one encouraging sign?
Both Kean Bryan and Jack Byrne are fabulous signings. Jack Byrne’s 2 ½ year deal in particular is miraculous. Ben Pringle also looks to be a really intelligent player and Wellens is confident of getting Eoin Doyle back. I’d like to see us sign another striker and defender.
How confident are you of Oldham’s chances of survival this season?
I’m pretty confident – we’ve been in this position before and I think that there is more than enough quality in the side to stay in the league. Once the takeover has settled and if we continue to acquire good talent we’ll be fine.
Looking ahead to the game on Saturday, how confident are you that this can be when the form turns around?
With the injuries in the side, notably in the defence, I don’t feel confident. Having said that I tipped us to beat Plymouth in December so what do I know?
Last time we spoke, you tipped Argyle to go down. Have you changed your mind at all about how the greens will do?
I think I changed my mind on that prediction 6 minutes into the game at Home Park. The form table says it all: 5th in the 10-game form table. I think Plymouth have more than enough about them to avoid the drop.