Analysis: Dunn-less Oldham look to fan favourite Sheridan for League One survival scrap

After just four months, 20 games and three victories, David Dunn’s career as Oldham Athletic manager never really got off the ground.

The 36-year-old initially signed at Boundary Park as a player back in pre-season, taking over as boss in September after Darren Kelly’s poor start to the campaign.

But patience quickly wore thin and, with recent results leaving Oldham staring down the barrel at a relegation scrap, Dunn’s departure became increasingly a matter of when and not if.

The midfielder claimed to have ‘irons in the fire’ in terms of transfer targets having publicly berated the squad he inherited, but chairman Simon Corney decided that enough was enough less than halfway through the January window.

As it turns out, Corney himself had irons in the fire, with John Sheridan’s appointment as the fifth Oldham boss in a year mooted to be imminent.

Where Dunn failed to win over the supporters following his high-profile appointment in September, fan-favourite Sheridan can tick that one off before he gets his foot in the door.

The 51-year-old spent the twilight of a successful playing career with Latics, retiring in 2004 and making his managerial career with the club two years later.

He departed in 2009 and has most recently won national plaudits with Plymouth Argyle and Newport County, but his Latics homecoming-of-sorts could be the spark needed to stave off the threat of relegation.

Capturing the boss – as well as relieving Dunn and his assistants Dean Holden/Mike Brown of their duties – will, however, most likely mean that funds are even more limited when it comes to improving the playing staff.

Corney was thought to be in a position to provide funds for either a managerial shift or a raft of signing, but Danny Philliskirk and Mark Yeates’ departures to Blackpool could mean both options are on the cards.

Or, as we so often see, a new manager could be just what is needed to reinvigorate the current squad and get them firing on all cylinders.

Having made the transition from teammate to boss at a time when results were already poor, Dunn faced a near impossible task.

But expect to see boosted attendances for Sheridan’s second spell, as well as a much-needed juggling of the current squad.

The former Republic of Ireland international will also bring with him hardened experience and an extensive knowledge of League Two, which could help with cheap recruitment.

Oldham are far from cut adrift at the bottom of League One, and Sheridan’s appointment would leave room for plenty of optimism among the Boundary Park faithful.

There are 22 league fixtures remaining, including three crucial relegation fixtures in the next four weeks, and fans will find no difficulty in getting behind a new-look team after frosty relations with Dunn never truly thawed.

Image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.

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