Spotlight On…Oldham Athletic
The Latics are the latest League One side we look at ahead of the forthcoming season.
It was Lee Johnson's first full season as manager at Oldham and he guided them to a mid-table 15th position.
The season was a very inconsistent one as they spent the majority of the season around the 14th to 18th positions.
They did finish the season strongly as they went ten matches unbeaten. Four wins and six draws saw them finish comfortably away from the relegation places.
THE MANAGER - LEE JOHNSON
Johnson is the son of former Posh manager Gary Johnson and is one of the youngest managers in League One.
Following Paul Dickov's dismissal in 2013, Johnson took his first steps in management with his main task to get the Latics out of the relegation places. He did this with his first game when beating Hartlepool United 3-1 while the club eventually finished outside the relegation places.
As a player, Johnson spent time in the youth systems at Arsenal and Watford before joining Brighton & Hove Albion in 2000. He didn`t aply any games for the Seagulls and moved on to Yeovil Town the following season where he joined up with his dad.
Six years and nearly 200 games down the line, Johnson moved up to Scotland to join Hearts but he only appeared four times for them before moving down south again; this time to Bristol City. He spent six years at the Robins which included two short loan spells to Derby County and Chesterfield.
His final club was back up in Scotland. He joined Kilmarnock on a two-and-a-half-year contract in February 2012 and just a month after joining, he was celebrating winning the Scottish League Cup Final after beating Celtic 1-0.
He left Kilmarnock in January 2013 to head to Oldham and officially took over the managerial reigns in March.
VISITING THE GROUND?
The Latics play their home games at Sportsdirect.com Park (aka Boundary Park); their home since 1904. It has a capacity of just over 10,500 and is reckoned to be the coldest ground in the Football League! It is the third highest venue above sea level though which could be the reason or it could just be bloody cold in Oldham!
Posh are due to play there on the last day of the season…Saturday, 2nd May, 2015.
Post Code for SAT NAV: OL1 2PA
Distance from London Road: 146 miles
SUMMER BUSINESS SO FAR
Striker Danny Philliskirk has agreed a new two-year deal with the Latics after finishing top scorer last season with 12 goals. Five players have departed though with Charlie MacDonald, Kirk Millar, Danny Gosset and Terry Dunfield all being released.
Former Posh midfielder James Wesolowski, goalkeeper Paul Rachubka and full-back Connor Brown have all been offered new contracts while defender Adam Lockwood has already agreed a one-year extension to his contract. Rachubka has also agreed the one-year deal offered to him.
The Latics have also taken up one-year options on James Wilson, David Mellor, Genseric Kusunga and Carl Winchester, meaning they will stay next season.
Defender Jonathan Grounds has left the club and signed for Championship side Birmingham City while captain Korey Smith has joined Bristol City on a three-year deal with Liam Kelly coming in the opposite direction.
The Latics have also signed left-back Joseph Mills, who left Premiership-bound Burnley, defender Brian Wilson from Colchester United and midfielder Mike Jones from Crawley Town. All three have signed two-year contracts.
They have been joined at the club by French midfielder Timothee Dieng on a two-year contract. The 22-year-old was a free agent after he was released by Stade Brestois, who play in the French second division.
The influx of players has continued with the signing of former Kidderminster Harriers striker Amari Morgan-Smith on a one-year deal while 22-year-old former Kilmarnock striker Willie Gros has signed a one-month contract!
THEY PLAYED FOR BOTH
Current Latics goalkeeper Paul Rachubka along with midfielder James Wesolowski and striker Jonson Clarke-Harris have all played for Posh in the past. There are no current Posh players that have played for Oldham but there have been quite a few down the years to have donned the shirts of both teams.
As well as Rachubka, there have been a splattering of goalkeepers to have represented both clubs including Ben Amos, Shwan Jalal (on trial only at Oldham), Stuart Naylor (goalkeeping coach at Oldham) and Jon Sheffield.
Other players to have represented both clubs include defensive duo Mark Arber and Guy Branston, midfielders Richard Butcher and Josh Low, and forwards Wayne Andrews, Leon Constantine and Tony Philliskirk (whose son now plays for the Latics).
There have only been 32 League clashed between Posh and the Latics and there is just one win difference. Posh have 12 wins compared to the Latics 11.
Both clubs won their respective home fixture last season. Posh won the first clash at London Road when goals from Britt Assombalonga and Lee Tomlin gave Posh a 2-0 lead before Charlie MacDonald reduced the arrears in the final minute.
The return fixture was an eventful one to say the least and it was another nail in Lee Tomlin`s career at Posh.
Posh had cruised into a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to goals from Britt Assombalonga, Tommy Rowe and Lee Tomlin. Such was the dominance of Posh in the first-half that a number of Latics fans even left the game!
Those fans would rue that decision because just three minutes into the second half, Gary Harkins pulled a goal back. David Worrall pulled another goal back six minutes later and it was game on again.
Posh calmed things down again on 63 minutes when they extended their lead again thanks to Nicky Ajose but that wasn`t the end of the scoring. If Posh thought they`d finally got the better of their hosts, former Posh midfielder James Wesolowski had other ideas. He brought the game back to a one-goal difference with 22 minutes remaining.
Could Posh hold on?
It looked like they were going to until Mr Petulant, Lee Tomlin, got himself sent off with just two minutes remaining. Surely Posh could hold on for those two minutes? Sadly not!
Gary Harkins scored the resulting penalty following Tomlin`s sending off for handball and then incredibly, with the last kick of the match, Genseric Kusunga scored the winner for the home side!
WHAT THE BOOKIES THINK
The Latics are a massive 40/1 to claim the League One title this season while they are 14/1 to get promoted. They are also outsiders to finish in the top six but you can get odds of 6/1 for them to achieve that.
Despite having a better season last season that the one before, the bookies still think the Latics will struggle and are joint fifth favourites to be relegated. They have odds of 5/2 for the drop; the same odds as Rochdale.
UP THE POSH
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Photo courtesy of www.theposhpics.com
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