‘Challenging times’ ahead for Paul Dickov’s Latics

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It is not often that a player who is given the armband is also a certainty to leave. 

That is the situation that Sean Gregan finds himself facing. The veteran defender has been told he can find a new club by manager Paul Dickov. 

The 36 year-old former West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End has failed to feature in the first team this season with Rueben Hazell taking over the captaincy. 

Dickov, who found himself in a similar situation last season at Leicester City, has been tasked with trimming the Latics’ 34-strong squad. As a result, Rob Purdie, Joe Jacobsen, Greg Fleming, Kelvin Lomax and Jon Worthington are also set to be axed. The club have been trying to move the players on since the summer, but have only managed to off-load Joe Colbeck to Hereford United. 

The inability to sell has not been entirely down to a lack of interest as many players have opted to reject offers to leave. Four members of the squad have been unwilling to take the step down to League Two or lower and a side of Oldham’s stature can ill-afford to sustain such a squad. If January does not bring any progress, the club’s accounts will be stretched. 

The news comes hot on the heels of the club’s announcement of a pre-tax loss of £1.5m in the last year. The figures represent a £400,000 increase in losses as the club faces what they consider to be ‘challenging times’. It is highly likely that the club’s wage bill will have to shoulder a large proportion of the blame. 

With cutbacks in full swing, testing times could be ahead for the Lancastrian side. In fact, cynics and doom-mongers predicted the club’s demise before the season had even begun, citing the appointment of Dickov as the first point of savings. 

The Scot has proven his detractors to be wide of the mark so far, but his abilities will be fully examined as his squad size dwindles. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association. 

Paul Dickov
League One
Sean Gregan
Oldham Athletic

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