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Club News

Michael Appleton Writes in the Oldham Programme

10 December 2016

Good football at a good tempo

After three difficult away trips it’s good to be back home again this afternoon and to be taking on Oldham Athletic, looking to carry on our decent recent run and keep the foot down as we go into the Christmas period. Oldham are obviously not in a great position in the league at the moment but don’t let that fool you: they are a very dangerous side and we will treat them with the utmost respect this afternoon.

We have started to get a level of consistency in our game and that needs to be an essential part of our home form in particular. We have won the last two matches here against Coventry and Gillingham and did that playing good football at a good tempo. We are still on target and going along nicely and now have three of our next four league games at home, so need to make home advantage really count.

After the Gillingham victory we collected a good point up at Scunthorpe, coming back from a goal down to equalise, and I thought we were the only side really likely to win the game in the second half there. Scunthorpe are top of the table and doing well but we came as close as anyone has to ending an unbelievable home record that stretches back into last season.

It would have been good to keep the league games coming but instead we have taken a break to play in the FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy. We have come through those games unscathed and still in the competitions, although we were a little fortunate to do so at Macclesfield in the FA Cup. Credit to them for the way they played on the night. We never really got our usual rhythm going but you can’t play flowing football every time. Sometimes you need to be stubborn and sacrifice a little bit of flair for some grit and determination. We live to fight another day and get a chance to make amends on Tuesday evening in a replay.

We changed the side around for that game and then did the same on Tuesday at Roots Hall. One or two changes were enforced through suspension to Alex MacDonald and injury to Joe Skarz, but we trust every player in this squad and they will all play a part as the season moves on. I felt the performance was a lot better on Tuesday and it was a decent cup tie. Both sides went for it in the second half, there was no question of playing for penalties, but in the end we had to go into a shoot-out once again. That’s the third time in that competition this season and this time we held our nerve, showed a bit of composure and so went through.

Those cups are great in terms of confidence and profile and make it just one defeat in eight games in all competitions. Confidence grows from that sort of run and hopefully we can continue our progress this afternoon.

Enjoy the game,

Michael

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