Big voice of sport: Oldham Athletic

Sports Editor Tony Bugby brings us the latest from Oldham Athletic FC

OLDHAM ATHLETIC’S goalless draw at AFC Wimbledon in their last Sky Bet League One game of the season on Sunday encapsulated their season in a nutshell.

When it comes to a case for the defence, Latics have been solid at the back where they have conceded 44 goals – the fourth best record in the division so that is a big tick.

Champions Sheffield United let in more as on loan keeper Connor Ripley kept 18 clean sheets in the league and 19 overall to equal Les Pogliacomi’s club record for shutouts.

But it is at the opposite end of the pitch where Latics have toiled scoring a meagre 31 goals in 46 league games, the worst record in the division.
Indeed, it was Latics’ lowest-ever haul in a league campaign – they would have had to score four at Wimbledon to avoid that stigma.

Lee Erwin was the only player to get into double figures – eight league and two cup in a total of 10. But it is a sad indictment that the second leading marksman was centre-back Peter Clarke with six – five in the league and one cup.

It has been yet another battle against relegation – they are an annual event for Latics.

But in each of the last two seasons Latics have produced a great escape under John Sheridan’s management.

In both seasons Sheridan took charge with the club in the relegation places and seemingly in dire straits.

This season was a mirror image to 2015/16 as Latics looked down and out when he succeeded Stephen Robinson – Latics had won only three league games between August and January.

Enter the Messiah and Latics won nine and drew seven from 22 games under Sheridan’s watch to eventually finish 17th.

Despite that terrific run – they averaged slightly over one and a half points per game which would see them challenging for the play offs if replicated over the whole campaign – they only beat the drop by four points.

When Robinson took charge in July, he inherited only five senior contracted players and hastily had to assemble a squad for the season, a daunting challenge in fairness to him.

Latics look to be in better shape going into the 2017/18 season as they could possibly have 14 players already signed up.

Anthony Gerrard, Clarke, Ryan Flynn, Ollie Banks, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Cameron Dummigan and Ousmane Fane are already signed up.

Latics also have options to retain Brian Wilson, Chris Kettings, George Edmundson, Callum Mantack, Jamie Stott, Ryan McLoughlin and Tope Obadeyi.

Sheridan, who is also signed up for two further seasons, looks to have the nucleus of a decent squad already assembled.

If he can address the chronic shortage of goals in the team, there is no reason why Latics cannot be looking up rather than down next season.

 

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