‘The biggest game’: Oldham Athletic manager Lee Johnson aware of Bury threat in relegation derby battle

By Kim Richards

Oldham Athletic boss Lee Johnson refused to underestimate the importance of his side’s Greater Manchester derby against cash-strapped neighbours Bury.

Latics suffered midweek defeat at Preston leaving them hovering just above the relegation zone, while rock-bottom Bury remain seven points adrift of League One safety.

Johnson’s side have five games remaining and the 31-year-old acknowledged Oldham’s relegation fate rests entirely in their own hands.

“It’s the biggest game, it’s always the biggest, the next one and at the moment we are not at the stage where it’s the be all and end all but it nearly is,” he said.

“We know it’s winnable if we are at our best but at the same time they’ve got half a little chance of still getting back out of trouble.

“It won’t be an easy game because they are fighting for their lives.

“It’s obviously a derby and it’s a big game so I’ve got to make sure the players are drilled and they know exactly that it’s coming and we have to make sure we go into tomorrow’s big game buzzing.”

Johnson added the absence of Jose Baxter – who begins a two-match ban – will be a loss, but is urging Latics fans to step-up their support for the visit to Gigg Lane.

“This game warrants [a full house] we definitely needs as many fans as we can to make it like a home game, the away support so far since I’ve been here has been second to none,” he said.

“A point is a point and it depends how others score and there may be a time when we have to keep an eye on their results as well as ours because it may affect tactics and time.

“With a loss everyone can suddenly think we’re in danger but when we win we think ‘oh we’ve cracked it’ this game either way it will not seal our fate on Saturday but it is a big game.”

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