Win ugly: Oldham’s Lee Johnson happy to swap attractive football for scrappy results in bid to become a ‘force’

By Matthew Naylor

Lee Johnson says adding the ability to win ugly is what his Oldham Athletic team need to become a ‘force’ in League One.

The Latics, who play their third game in seven days when they visit Walsall on Tuesday night, ground out a tough 1-0 win over basement club Stevenage last time out.

And Johnson says it is doing this on a more regular basis that is putting a glass ceiling on the fortunes of his 16th-placed team.

“We want the grit and determination along with the quality,” said the Oldham manager.

“When we actually master that, then we will be a force.

“We know in this division the first goal is so important, because once you get something to hold on to, then you can really dig in.”

Their midweek trip down the M6 to take on the Saddlers is being seen as a chance to grind out more points and create some real estate between Oldham and the perils of the relegation zone.

“I think it’ll be a good game for the neutral,” Johnson told reporters.

“Walsall are very organised and disciplined, with a very similar style to the way we play. They’re energetic with busy little bees all over the pitch.

“It’s a good game for us because we got beaten here earlier in the year and didn’t quite give a good enough account of ourselves, so we’re hopeful to go there and do a lot better.”

Walsall have been impressive so far this season and are putting real pressure on the playoff promotion spots, with an unbeaten run stretching to Boxing Day.

Midfielder Romaine Sawyers told the Saddlers’ club website that Oldham are the kind of team they need to be beating at home if they are to push for a place in next season’s Championship.

“We’ve given ourselves a nice foundation to really push on in the second half of the season,” said the Saint Kitts and Nevis international.

“The fans have a key role to play and they have backed us extremely well.

“They can see what we are trying to do and that this is a club that is going places.”

As the 50th meeting between the two sides approaches, the record stands with both sides having 19 previous victories and sharing eleven draws.

The Latics, who have not won any of the past three encounters, have the blessing of a fully fit squad for Tuesday night.

Image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.

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