Tony Philliskirk insists League One survival campaign should hold no fears for Oldham Athletic after cup run

By Matthew Lees

After their incredible FA Cup journey ended earlier this week, Oldham Athletic caretaker manager Tony Philliskirk is urging the players to focus on the league.

Only a few days after Latics valiant performance against Everton, promotion-chasing Sheffield United travel across the Pennines for League One action at Boundary Park.

However Oldham are only one point and one place clear of the relegation zone and Philliskirk wants the players to intensify their league efforts.

“Now we are out of the FA Cup, we can concentrate on the league,” said the 48-year-old.

“It is really tight again at the bottom and hopefully acquiring the points which we need to make us safe which is the most important thing for the club.”

Striker Lee Barnard will have a late fitness test meaning Matt Smith – nominated for the FA Cup player of Fifth Round Proper Award – is on standby to replace him after scoring against Everton.

Athletic are unbeaten in the league under Philliskirk and scored last-gasp goals in their last two matches against the Yorkshire side but still face a hard test according to the caretaker.

“The way the boys played against Everton, I don’t think we should go into any game in League One fearing who we play,” added Philliskirk – who played for made 80 appearances for the Blades between 1983 and 1988.

“We know it will be tough, but it is a game we should embrace and look forward to.

“And if we impose ourselves, as we have been doing in recent games, then hopefully we will get the right result.”

Philliskirk misses out on the chance to face his son and former Oldham youth product, Danny, who was released in January but the game is Danny Wilson’s 100th game as Blades boss.

Latics fans on O2 will have the chance to pick the man-of-the-match and present him with a bottle of champagne by texting the shirt number of their nominee to 82022 between the 70th and 90th minutes.

Image courtesy of ITV Sport, via YouTube, with thanks

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