Both under 40, both managing clubs with limited resources against bigger clubs and both making a sterling job of it.
There are many similarities between Oldham’s Paul Dickov and his Bournemouth counterpart Eddie Howe.
The pair got the chance to lock horns for the first time at Boundary Park at the weekend, and Dickov would have been keen to get one over the newly-promoted South Coast side after defeat to Peterborough the previous week. The Scotsman got s response in the best possible way.
With both sides’ advocacy of a high-tempo passing game, the match was one for the purists as both teams had the potential - on paper - to put together combinations that were pleasing on the eye.
However, Bournemouth’s opener would not have caught Dickov’s as the away side took the lead on half time.
Rhoys Wiggins looped a free-kick over Dean Brill and into the far corner of the net on the stroke of half time. The strike made it two-from-two for the midfielder, and left the Latics facing a similar record of defeats.
The half-time team talk is the manager’s chance to make the greatest impact, and Dickov would find himself breaking new ground at the interval: inspiring his players to turn around a deficit at home.
At first, it seemed he had failed to spark his players as the Cherries threatened to grab a second. Once again, a free kick almost caught the home side out. Marc Pugh’s fearsome strike cannoned off the crossbar and, subsequently, gave Oldham the impetus they needed to make the turnaround.
Kieran Lee and Ousmare Tounkare both bundled home to turn the match on its head in the space of three minutes.
It was perhaps cruel on Howe and his threadbare squad, but Dickov will be relieved to have stopped any doubts creeping in about whether he was up to the job after all.
His praise at the full time whistle for substitute Lewis Alessandra suggested that the boss had a profound impact on the destination of the three points. It may well have just been a good day for him, but if Dickov can continue to use team talks and substitutes to perform such heroics then there is no stopping the former Leicester hit man.
Neither Dickov nor Howe are the youngest manager in the league - that accolade belongs to MK Dons’ Karl Robinson - but both have been attracting attention, along with fellow relative spring chicken Keith Hill at Rochdale, as this impressive crop of young managers show their skills in the third tier.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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