Updated: Friday, 22nd May 2020 @ 2:15pm

Cool, Calm and Kell-ected Oldham boss has faith in his squad's mental toughness

Cool, Calm and Kell-ected Oldham boss has faith in his squad's mental toughness

| By Ned Bristow

Oldham Athletic boss Darren Kelly has placed emphasis on his squad’s mental preparation ahead of managerless Peterborough United’s visit to Boundary Park tomorrow afternoon.

The Latics are looking to rebound from their first league loss of the season after Kelly oversaw a steady start to the season with seven points from their first six games before they came unstuck against Shrewsbury in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and were then defeated at home by Bradford last week.

Despite not having won since mid-August, the Northern Irishman believes the season can be a successful one if his players can strike a happy medium between body and mind.

“The mindset’s the key thing, because if that’s working you have positive thoughts, which helps the feet,” he told Oldham Athletic Player.

“If that’s not working, you lose a little bit of belief in your feet. It’s about finding that balance because you want the players to be physically ready but also mentally ready.

“If they’re mentally ready and up for the challenge and confident, especially with the squad we have, we’ll have no problems.”

With injured trio Liam Kelly, Jake Cassidy and Brian Wilson still unavailable and Jonathan Forte beginning his three match suspension, there may be a recall for Dominic Poleon.

The young striker had been dropped for a lack of professionalism, but scored a reserve team hat-trick in midweek and so could return to Kelly senior’s fold.

The 36-year-old boss, who has been in charge since May, remains confident in the ability of those available and has urged his charges to concentrate on the task at hand despite Peterborough’s lingering manager saga.

Dave Robertson became the first football league manager dismissed this season last Sunday, and the Posh find themselves 20th with just one win to their names.

Grant McCann has stepped in as caretaker manager while a shortlist to fill the position permanently is being drawn up.

“It’s important we focus on us and our strengths,” said Kelly.

“You look at Peterborough’s start to the season, but it’s still a false stage of the season for me, because you’ve got teams down the bottom who will be near the top come the end, so focusing on us is important.

“We have to show what we’re about and play the way we can, and by five o’clock Saturday we want three points.

“Training has been good. With the enthusiasm and quality this week, the players are ready to go on Saturday; bring it on!”

Main image courtesy of Oldham Athletic, with thanks.