Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Watch Out Here Come: Oldham.

A cursary glance at the league table shows Oldham steaming away with three wins from three, but a closer look at the details raises questions.

Certainly it's worth asking whether having played two of their three games at the somewhat challenging Whitebank has given them an early advantage. 

Having scored fewer points than Hornets and having conceded more, their stats indicate workmanlike qualities rather than a free-flowing threat - and a propensity to leak points.

Indeed, when you look at their games, Oldham have won in perfunctory fashion rather than with panache. Grinding out a 10 point win at Workington on day one was impressive, a 26 point beating of Gateshead anticipated, an eventual 22-14 win over Egremont in the Cup underwhelming. Last week saw a six point margin in a 58 point thriller against Barrow, after which Tony Benson said: "Our goal in each game is to concede no more than 17 points, so it hurts to let in 26. Nevertheless, our defence carried us through. One day our attack will come good as well and it will be interesting to see what happens then."

One imagines it'll be improved on Friday by the return of Neil Roden - a perpetual and near unplayable thorn in Hornets side for too many years to remember. But this year, Oldham's attacking threat is supplemented by the mercurial Wiganer Jamie Dallimore, who trialled for Hornets in the Blackpool 9's in 2009.

Ultimately, though, you can chuck the form-book out of the window for this one. As usual, the only Good Friday derby that really matters at each end of the A627M will be tense, passionate and full-blooded. We wouldn't want it any other way.