Football

Latics face difficult post-Christmas period

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It seems Christmas may have been cancelled at Oldham Athletic. The current run of postponements has affected the Greater Manchester side more than most with no game yet played in December. With much of the country still under snow, the sequence could be set to continue.

Like many lower league sides, Oldham can start to feel the pinch after a few missed fixtures. The effect is multiplied when popular fixtures, such as the Boxing Day fixture with Carlisle and the January derby against Rochdale. Six weeks of missed gate receipts would stretch Oldham’s already limited resources to breaking point and leave Paul Dickov with no funds to spend in January.

Luckily, the Scot seems to have the matter in hand. The rookie boss has played the transfer market like a wily old veteran with some shrewd signings both permanent and temporary.

Two loan signings that Dickov will hope to keep at the club until the end of the campaign are Arsenal’s Cedric Evina and Leeds’ Aidan White. Both full-backs at their parent clubs, they have been utilised in midfield during their respective spells with the Latics. The move upfield has proven to be shrewd and both players have rewarded their boss with important goals last month.

More of the same from the duo would certainly boost Oldham’s promotion hopes, which remain very much alive. It will be difficult to maintain such a lofty position in the table once the winter frost has thawed. After effectively enduring a winter break, the Latics are likely to see a significant backlog of fixtures accompany the first blossom of spring.

Despite a sizeable squad, Dickov and his charges are likely to be pushed to the limit, especially if they make it into the play-offs. The option of using youth-team members still exists; a potentially reliable alternative when you consider that eight first-team members have been produced by the club.

The youthful squad at Boundary Park will have to draw on all their energy to have a shot at the Championship in the coming months.

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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