Friday 9 October 2009

Oldham Athletic Preview

After the successful interlude of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, we are now back to the serious business of picking up points in the league. Whilst one point from two tricky fixtures has seen the chasing pack gain a bit of ground on us, it has not been disastrous, being as we are just three points behind Leeds at the top. In fact with the leaders not in action this weekend, there is every chance we can reclaim the top spot for ourselves should we win in style tomorrow.

However, we will undoubtedly have to work for all three points against an Oldham side whose had won three on the trot before Yeovil held them to a 0-0 draw last weekend. Manager Dave Penney has praised their ‘resolve’ and his team lie eight points behind us in 8th position. They will be looking for at least a point out of the trip to The Valley and it wouldn’t be surprising if they set out their stall to do just that.

After what seemed like an eternity with the same starting XI, injury (Semedo) and loss of form (Llera) has forced Parkinson’s hand in recent weeks with Matt Spring and Sam Sodje being the beneficiaries. It looks like there could be further shuffling for Parky this weekend, with our right side looking to be in need of an overhaul. Both Lloyd Sam, who came at half time against Leeds, and Frazer Richardson, who was rested against Barnet, are both rated doubtful. Sam and Richardson have been two of our most consistent performers so to lose one or both will be a blow.

So how to fill the void? The right wing issue is the more simple to resolve, with Scott Wagstaff ready to come in. I watched the highlights of the game against Barnet and I must say his goal was a cracker. The right back issue is somewhat more tricky. Is Chris Solly ready for his first league start? I must admit I haven’t seen enough of him to be sure. Parkinson obviously rates him (Moutaouakil was loaned out to Motherwell on the premise that he was hindering Solly’s development) but something tells me it may be just a bit too soon for him.

In which case Kelly Youga would move to the right, with Grant Basey slotting in at left back. In my opinion Basey has been unlucky not to get more of a run in the starting XI than he has done in the past few seasons. I don’t really recall him every having done anything calamitous on the field, and there have been a number of occasions when I thought he would get a start after some frustrating performances from Youga. Hopefully he will get an opportunity tomorrow.

The only problem with this of course, is that Youga may be required to cover the centre back position with Sam Sodje off on international duty and Llera short on form and confidence (although he is apparently fully fit). The Spaniard has had somewhat of a mixed start to his Charlton career. He has scored a couple of goals but has also looked shaky at times in defence, something which was painfully exposed against Colchester. He could have done with a mid-week run out against Barnet but it didn’t happen.

Parky has suggested he will start and I can’t imagine he won’t make the starting XI. It really would be quite telling if Llera, as one of only three specialist centre backs we have and one of two who are available, is rested in favour of a specialist left back. So, providing there are no other tactical changes further up the field (I don’t think Parkinson will start with an orthodox 4-4-2), I imagine they will line up as follows on the assumption that Richardson, Semedo and Sam are all unfit to play:

Elliot; Youga, Dailly, Llera, Basey; Wagstaff, Spring, Racon, Bailey; Shelvey; Burton.

Subs: Randolph, Solly, Mambo, Stavrinou, Tuna, McLeod, McKenzie.

I’m looking forward to getting back to The Valley having missed the last two games (against Exeter City and Barnet) due to other commitments. I am, however, a bit nervous about the game given the expectation there is to take all three points. I’m not expecting an easy encounter but hopefully the memories of Colchester are close to being erased and we can close the gap on Leeds again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think we will be ok today, if we bailey plays in the middle with spring. Spring and Racon together leaves llera exposed.

If Semedo is fit then he provides enough protection for Llera to be paired with racon with bailey out on the left.

Let's hope PP can get the team balance correct. VFF