The BIG Voice of Sport: November

Sports Editor Tony Bugby brings us the latest from Oldham Athletic

IF THE early part of the campaign is anything to go by, it looks like being another roller-coaster ride for Latics and their long-suffering fans.

Latics, the longest-serving side in League One having been in the division since 1997, appear tantalisingly close to being half decent.

There is a fine line between success and failure as seven of Latics’ eight league defeats have been by one-goal margins. High-flying Wolves was the exception and then a 2-0 loss was no disgrace.

Yet Latics find themselves in 16th place and only two points clear of the relegation places with almost one third of the season completed.

Indeed, the importance of the home win against top-half side Swindon Town was never more evident. It lifted Latics to 16th spot whereas a defeat would have seen them slip to third bottom.

When one win can move a team either up or down the table six places, it shows just how tight League One is.

Latics are averaging exactly one point per game which, if replicated over 46 league matches, would almost certainly see them relegated as teams view 50 and sometimes 52 points as the safety benchmark.

There have been promising pointers, however, as Latics have proved they are more than a match for any team in the division.

They have outplayed leading sides Leyton Orient, Peterborough and Preston without necessarily getting a positive result due to a lack of clinical finishing.

And there has been cheer in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as Latics have beaten Shrewsbury and Preston away to move into the Northern Area Quarter Finals.

They are only three rounds from appearing at the new Wembley for the first time which would be a great achievement so it is far from a gloomy scenario.

Latics must not be distracted by thoughts of Wembley because their main goal must be preserving their League One status which, on the evidence of the season so far, looks like providing a stern challenge for rookie and likeable young manager Lee Johnson.