Play-offs are still the target, says Reuben Hazell

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It could be argued that Oldham’s season has limped through recent games after an impressive start, but the necessary ‘shot in the arm’ was received gratefully at Boundary Park. 

The visit of Huddersfield could have seen fans forgiven for more than a hint of trepidation as the second-placed side had caught the eye with wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton on their record in the last few games. 

A scintillating display from the home side soon dispelled any such fears as they dominated from first-to-last against their much-fancied opponents. 

Ousmare Tounkara’s 24th minute winner did the damage. The on-loan striker profited from some slick Oldham passing to drag the ball past Ian Bennett in the Huddersfield goal and finish into the waiting goal. 

The lead was no more than Paul Dickov’s side deserved in a performance which had the Scot believing his side were ‘a match for anyone in the division’. In fact, they were unfortunate not to have a greater lead as only an inspired performance from the veteran goalkeeper Bennett stopped the rampant attack from adding to their tally. 

Huddersfield’s attempts to get back into the game were halted by a resolute defence and a devastating counter attack for the home side that outnumbered and outmanoeuvred the opposing defence at will. 

Following a 3-0 mauling at the hands of Rochdale, it has now been two unsuccessful trips to Greater Manchester for a side many tipped to be promoted. 

Oldham were backed by less fans and pundits alike, but the promotion hopes are being raised at Boundary Park.

Current captain Reuben Hazell - who has taken the job while club captain Sean Gregan is out-of-favour and on-loan at Fleetwood Town - has backed the side to make the play-offs this season. 

The centre-half has given full credit to Paul Dickov’s man-management skills and claims that they could lead the side to promotion out of the division they have resided in since 1997. 

On this form, who can disagree? 

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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Oldham Athletic

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