Cat Stevens once sang ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ and it is up to Paul Dickov to prove him wrong.
Dickov will be looking for Dale Stephens and co to bounce back from their first defeat of the campaign after they collapsed to a 5-2 defeat against Peterborough.
The rout was even more demoralising when it is considered that Oldham raced in to a two goal lead, courtesy of strikes from Ritchie Jones and Chris Taylor.
The defeat signals the end of Oldham’s unbeaten start to the season and leaves Dickov with the prospect of facing his most difficult challenge in his short career as the gaffer: recovery.
Management is easy when everything is going along swimmingly, but the best in the business are the ones who quickly turn it around when heavy defeats occur.
Phil Brown’s tenure a Hull should be a cautionary tale for Dickov. Like Oldham, Hull mixed it with the big boys at the summit of the Premier League in 2008/09.
A few defeats soon saw the rot set in and they narrowly avoided relegation. The Scot must ensure that a similar decline does not creep in at Boundary Park.
Dickov has renewed a feel-good factor and vigour in the Lancashire town that has not surrounded the side since the Premiership days of the early 90’s. However, nothing has been achieved just yet and the boss now faces some difficult decisions.
Will he chop-and-change the line-up or stick with the players who have served him so well up to the 45th minute at Peterborough? Will he change the system? Will he change the training? Will he bring someone in on-loan? Will he simply do nothing and keep the faith?
These are the questions that will be on his mind. Whatever he opts for, he must not make a rash decision.
With a week until the visit of high-flying new boys Bournemouth, Dickov has plenty to do to get his charges back on track. Latics fans will be hoping he comes out of this test of his mettle like he has in most others over his career: fighting.
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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