The Latics have put together a run of victories just when it mattered to seal their place in League 1 for next season. Under the stewardship of the Football League’s youngest manager in Lee Johnson, Oldham won three on the trot against Bury, Yeovil (who are ironically managed by Johnson’s father Gary) and Crawley to lift themselves to a safe position, though that run was brought to an end by a defeat at Shrewsbury on Tuesday.
Last Time Out
Despite having the better of the chances at New Meadow, Oldham eventually lost out by single goal against Shrewsbury thanks to a well-taken free-kick from Shrews skipper and former Latics player Joe Jacobsen. The full-back’s 49th-minute strike, added to some impressive saves from home goalkeeper Chris Weale to deny Jose Baxter and Kirk Millar, was enough to secure the three points for Graham Turner’s men, who moved above Oldham into 18th place in the table.
Speaking post-match, Latics manager Johnson was in an unforgiving mood: “I asked the players before the game whether they were ready to win the league. And I wanted to see whether they could show in their play and attitude that they can win the league.
“They didn’t and couldn’t so it is a lesson learned and there were some proper home truths which is good. We will see who reacts to them on Saturday.”
Oldham’s squad will be stretched for the trip to E10 with strikers Matt Smith and Lee Barnard ruled due to achilles and hip picked up in last Saturday’s win over Crawley, while full-back Jonathan Grounds is rated 50/50 after coming off at Shrewsbury with a neck injury.
Those absentees add to the missing trio of James Wesolowski, James Tarkowski and Daniel Taylor, all of whom have medial knee ligament injuries.
Last Time We Met
Orient’s inconsistent early-season league form continued as the Latics comfortably managed a 2-0 victory at Boundary Park. Having bossed much of the 90 minutes, despite the best efforts of Martin Rowlands who missed the O’s best chances, it took until the 77th minute until Matt Derbyshire opened the scoring for the hosts. Former Everton trainee Jose Baxter sealed the three points six minutes later as the Russell Slade’s Orient began a four-match losing streak.
One To Watch
After being tipped as a star of the future while at Everton, Jose Baxter became the Toffees’ youngest ever player to start a game after being selected to face West Brom in August 2008. However, the local boy from Merseyside failed to truly make the step up at Goodison Park, failing to score a single senior goal in his time there before being released by David Moyes in the summer of 2012. After going the whole of pre-season without a club, Baxter signed on at Oldham where he has established himself as a key man, scoring 15 goals in all competitions so far this season.
Orient wins: 17
Oldham wins: 15