Especially at this time of the season it’s broadly accepted that results are more important than performance, and City’s 2-1 win against Crawley on Tuesday night certainly fell into that category – not helped by a referee who seemed to feel he’d made an error for City’s controversial second goal and spent the entire second half trying to atone. The other clubs competing at the top also mostly enjoyed victories on Tuesday, so it’s pretty much as you were going into Saturday’s fixtures. City’s injury problems in defence saw Matt Taylor go to a back four, although Cheick Diabate returned off the bench in the second half, while Taylor will have been relieved not to have seen any more of his depleted squad pull up and he hinted that someone – presumably either Stubbs or Grounds – will be available at the weekend. Elsewhere it was confirmed that Sam Nombe is likely to miss the rest of the season following a second hamstring tear, which opens the door for Offrande Zanzala, Kieran Phillips or Padraig Amond to nail down a starting place alongside Jevani Brown and Matt Jay in attack.
Looking doomed going into February, Oldham employed their speed dial to call John Sheridan for yet another spell in charge – the immediate results were sensational with the Latics winning three out of four to pull out of the drop zone, but five matches without a win including three straight defeats have perhaps deflated fans’ hopes. They are, unlike Scunthorpe, very much in the mix however. One of their big problems has been the lack of goals – Davis Kellior-Dunn has 11 league goals but Hallam Hope, normally reliable in front of goal, has just five. Nicky Adams is considered a creative force at this level and will need to be watched, although he has yet to break his duck for the club in over a year since joining.
City won the reverse fixture back in November 2-1 – leading 2-0 through Jay and Brown Oldham pulled one back through Bowden late on. However, the Latics had the upper hand the previous season winning both matches 2-1, the match at Boundary Park saw Oldham go 2-0 up through Jameson and McCalmont before Sparkes gave City hope. City have the upper hand in league head to heads with 14 wins to Oldham’s ten, seven matches finishing level.
Match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Assistant Referees: Andrew Aylott and Lisa Rashid
Fourth Official : Daniel Woodward
We last saw Seb Stockbridge in the FA Cup tie at Bradford City.