Lee Johnson Oldham return: Holden demands discipline for emotional Barnsley clash

Oldham Athletic interim manager Dean Holden has warned his players not to get too ‘emotionally involved’ when they face former boss Lee Johnson’s new side Barnsley on Saturday.

The Latics have won one and lost two since the 33-year-old left for Yorkshire side just 15 days ago, and face an uphill battle to make the play-offs.

Barnsley are currently League One’s form side, having won five straight games after a Valentine’s Day massacre by Crawley, but Holden believes Oldham can expose their frailties.

“Everyone is talking about the game. They will bring a good following with them so it should be a real good atmosphere come kick off,” he said. 

“These are the games you want to play in and it’s a great chance for the lads to play Barnsley and exploit their weaknesses, nullify their threats and get the three points. 

“It’s three points which will get us back on track to get promoted so there will be a lot of passion around, on and off the pitch, but we need to make sure the players play with discipline and clarity.

“They don’t need to get too involved emotionally in what’s going on and they need to use their football brains. 

“You’re bred in football to move forward really quickly. I’m looking forward to seeing Tommy and Lee but we will be looking to beat us just like they will be looking to put one over on us too.”

Holden will be without Brian Wilson for Barnsley’s trip to Park after the defender was shown two yellow cards during the 2-1 defeat to bottom side Yeovil Town.

But Holden feels his absence could provide an opportunity for others to break through.

“It gives someone else a chance to come in and prove what they are worth,” he said. 

“They are all chomping at the bit in training. We have had a real good week in training and we are in good spirits.”

The former Oldham captain today captured the loan signings of Bolton Wanderers midfielder Luke Woodland and Rotherham United defender Mat Sadler.

“Mat is a good footballer with bags of experience in the game. He’s solid, reliable, hardworking, got a great attitude and has a fantastic work ethic.

“With the injury to Joseph Mills and the suspension of Brian Wilson, Sads will be a good addition to our squad.

“Luke has impressed me every time I have watched him play. He’s technically gifted with an excellent range of passing but also enjoys the defensive side of the game.

“Luke has a real desire to improve his game and crucially he has a fantastic attitude which is key to learning.”

Main image courtesy of Official OAFC via YouTube, with thanks.

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