Oldham Preview… Can we make up for the 4-1 loss away?

After Saturday’s vital win at the Ricoh Arena we have a quick chance to make it two home wins on the spin. We welcome Oldham Athletic to Coventry on Tuesday Night and the Sky Blues will be looking to avenge the embarrassing defeat we suffered at Boundary Park back in October. I’m sure the rest of the supporters who travelled to the fixture will agree with me, it was arguably the worst performance of our season so far. 

 

Me and some of the other City fans at Boundary Park… It was a long journey home!
 
Despite Oldham’s dominance that day, they’re only 4 points above us in the SkyBet League One table. They were in and around the play-offs for a fairly long period, but since manager Lee Johnson left to join Barnsley the Latics have slid down to 14th. Caretaker manager Dean Holden has found life fairly tough so far but the side look set for a mid-table finish, I could only imagine this would be seen as a disappointment to the supporters after a very bright start to the campaign. After throwing away a 2-0 lead at home to Sheffield United at the weekend, they’ll be looking to gain three points at the Ricoh that could potentially move them in to 12th position and back in to the top half.

As for City, Mowbray has labelled the fixture as a “massive game” and he is absolutely spot on. A win for us would move us even closer to crossing the line and securing our place in the division. I believe that we’ll need 4 points from our remaining fixtures to ensure survival, and a win against Oldham would relieve a lot of pressure. The quicker we get the job done the better; nobody likes a final day survival mission. 

Form…

The Sky Blues will be in a confident mood after securing their fifth Ricoh win of the season on Saturday. Our form over the last six games is fairly impressive too and much better than most of our relegation rivals. It comprises of 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses which is a healthy return of 10 points from the 18 on offer. If City do manage to get a victory it would be only the second time this season that we’ve won successive games at home since our Ricoh return.

Oldham come in to the game on the back of a draw against Sheffield United in which they’d be disappointed to give away a 2-0 lead, but happy to claim a point against a playoff side. Their last six games have given them 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses which equates to 8 points from 18. They have also lost their last two fixtures on the road which will give City extra hope.

Team news…

Coventry City have no fresh injury concerns after the tie against Colchester on Saturday. Reda Johnson and John Fleck returned from injury and they came out of the game unscathed, both have trained and will be fully fit for Tuesday’s fixture. The same goes for James Maddison who has been eased back in to the first team picture, the young midfielder likely to be on the bench for the game.

Nick Proschwitz is likely to continue his spell up front for the Sky Blues as Mowbray reiterated his desire to play the German frontman. One of the main reasons he is being selected is due to Marcus Tudgay’s continued spell on the sidelines, Proschwitz is seen as the most like-for-like replacement. Reda Johnson is also likely to start in the heart of defence at Aaron Martin’s expense as the colossal Benin international put in a very strong performance during Saturday’s clean sheet.

The Latics have a relatively strong squad to choose from ahead of their trip to the Ricoh. Jacob Mellis, Liam Kelly, Rhys Murphy and James Wilson have all recently returned from injury to boost Dean Holden’s selection. 

As for Injuries, Amari Morgan-Smith and George Elokobi remain doubts for the Latics. Both players have been plagued by Hamstring problems, with the team being hit hard by their absence for the second half of the campaign. They could however be named in the squad as they have returned to training recently. Striker Jonathan Forte, who scored a brace against the Sky Blues in the reverse fixture, remains a major doubt as he is struggling with a knee injury. Joseph Mills will also be a doubt after being substituted through injury in Saturday’s fixture.

One to watch… 

Carl Winchester

Winchester has enjoyed a very good season with the Latics, scooping Oldham’s player of the month award on three occasions and cementing his place in the centre of midfield. He is seen as a key player by the fans and if he is on form he can be the creative difference that influences whether a game is won or lost. 

At the beginning of the season, Lee Johnson (who was then manager) had planned to loan out the Northern Ireland international to another club to ensure he got game time, but things changed. Winchester put in a series of fine displays which altered the manager’s thoughts, and since then he’s been a permanent fixture in the Latics side. His pace, trickery and ball retention are all things to be wary of as the Sky Blues will have to find a way to stop him playing. 

The 22 year-old has scored 4 goals this season and assisted 2 in 43 appearances which doesn’t sound brilliant but he does add a lot to their team, playing the kind of role John Fleck does here, so we will have to be on guard to stop him. Defensively he has proved very solid too, helping Oldham to a mid-table berth in the division. 

My thoughts…

I am going in to the game feeling confident we can get a result again, but if we’d lost on Saturday I wouldn’t be saying the same thing. The performance against Colchester was very encouraging, it was a bit slow and laboured at times but we thoroughly deserved the victory and I’m hoping we can replicate that on Tuesday. There is still a lot of work to do however and I expect Oldham to be a much tougher opposition to conquer than the U’s.

Chances will have to be taken against a fairly solid Latics side and we can’t be as wasteful as we have been for the majority of the season. It’s positive that we are creating chances but we’ve got to start putting them away. Our defence also looked a lot stronger with Reda Johnson’s return but there were still some lapses in concentration, this needs to stop. Striker Dominic Poleon will be in a confident mood after scoring a brilliant brace in their last game and we need to be on our toes to stop the frontman notching again. 

The performance in the reverse fixture was abysmal but I think this time around we will be much better. Tony Mowbray has undoubtedly got us playing better football and his game management has been superb in getting points on the board. As long as we work as hard as we did on Saturday and fight for the game I feel another win could be on the horizon for the Sky Blues. I can see confidence growing in the side and we’ve hit a bit of form at a pivotal time in the campaign, one player who epitomises this confidence is Lee Burge as he’s surprised many in how commanding he’s been.

Hopefully gaining our first win under Mowbray at the Ricoh Arena has lifted a few nerves now and we can build on that. The gaffer has reiterated how important this game is and I think the lads fully understand what a win would mean to us. Hopefully we can get another huge victory. 

My score prediction…

Coventry City 2-1 Oldham Athletic



 

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