Few things in football seem more reliable than Oldham Athletic finishing every season in the bottom half of League One.
But while they’re currently sat in 18th spot, a closer look suggests the times are finally changing under boss Richie Wellens.
The Latics had looked likely relegation candidates under John Sheridan in the early part of the season. But it’s been a different story since Wellens’ took the job – initially as caretaker – in late September.
Things have admittedly been up-and-down, but the progress is undeniable. Especially up front. Loanee Eoin Doyle has thrived under Wellens, with 11 of his 13 league goals coming since the 37-year-old has taken the reins.
The club will be confident of keeping the Irish striker, with game-time very thin on the ground at Doyle’s parent club, Preston North End.
And he’s built up a good partnership with the wily Craig Davies. The former Wales international has been an excellent foil for Doyle, with his intelligent hold-up play and aerial threat.
Despite their fairly lowly position at present, the Latics are actually the joint-eighth highest scorers in the division.
They’re a match for anyone
The Latics have taken 10 points from their last four games. That’s impressive in any circumstances – but especially so when two of those were against sides in the top five.
Last weekend’s 2-0 victory at Scunthorpe United made Oldham the first visitors to keep a clean sheet at Glanford Park in 18 games.
They also went toe-to-toe with table-toppers Blackburn Rovers in mid-February. In fact, the Latics were 2-0 up at Ewood Park before a second-half comeback from the hosts saw it end 2-2.
In fact, six of the Boundary Park club’s 10 league wins this term have come against sides in the top half. On their day, they can cause huge problems for any side in this division. Bringing their A-game against the lesser sides is the next task.
While relegation still isn’t an impossibility, it’s hard to see this Oldham side getting sucked back into a battle for survival – especially with several of the sides below them in dismal form.
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