Sports Editor Tony Bugby brings us the latest from Oldham Athletic.
OLDHAM ATHLETIC play two hugely important cup matches in the space of three days.
And victory against Chesterfield in the Northern Area Semi-Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday, December 10th will leave Latics one round from Wembley.
Latics won’t be counting their chickens, however, as they have previously played Chesterfield in three seasons since 2006/07 in the same competition – and lost all four matches.
They have lost twice in the Northern Area Final, one of those was against Chesterfield in 2011/12 so have experienced heartbreak in the knockout as they have come near and yet so far from a first appearance at the new Wembley.
The JPT tie will be three days after Latics played hosts to Mansfield Town in the second round of the FA Cup with Budweiser.
And victory against the League Two Stags would again propel Latics into the third round and the chance to play a top club.
Latics have had lucrative FA Cup campaigns in the last two seasons in which they have twice played Liverpool and also taken Everton to a replay as last season they won through to the fifth round.
There has also been an upturn in Latics’ fortunes following a challenging start to the 2013/14 campaign.
They were unbeaten in six league and cup games in November, the crowning glory being their win at Wolves in a first-round replay in the FA Cup.
That has helped lift Latics away from the danger zone towards a more comfortable mid-table position in the table.
Latics extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a 1-1 draw against Bradford City at Boundary Park at the start of December.
But with three of their remaining four league games in the month away from Boundary Park,it will be a tough period for the club.
They have to travel to high-flying Brentford, Sheffield United and Coventry City with only one home league fixture still to play in 2013 against Colchester United.