Oldham Athletic manager Lee Johnson is eyeing a return to the play-offs as his side travel to Sheffield United on Saturday.
Johnson’s side have responded well after losing their 13-game unbeaten run to Bristol City two weeks ago, with a win over Leyton Orient and a hard-earned point at home to Crawley Town.
But the football league’s youngest manager knows his side will have to be at their best if they are to blunt the Blades.
“They have got a lot of talented players so we will have to take our game to them. We have got a good record against them and we will be looking to continue that on Saturday,” he said.
“They have got a lot of mavericks in their squad. They have (Jamal) Campbell-Ryce, (Jose) Baxter and (Jamie) Murphy, who is a talented player. They don’t really have a striker with (Michael) Higdon out so they have Barcelona type players and play with a false nine. (Ryan) Flynn is a very good player also.
“They are good on the ball, intricate and have quality movement in their players. You have to manage that because if not, they will beat us but I think they have got weaknesses that we can exploit.”
A win would see the Latics leapfrog Sheffield United into the play-offs and see them return to winning ways after a frustrating draw at home to Crawley last weekend.
Sheffield United are in good form on the pitch having lost just one of their last six league game, despite facing significant off-field distractions recently.
They have faced considerable public backlash after allowing convicted rapist Ched Evans to use their training facilities, before eventually reneging on this decision this week after patrons and sponsors cut ties with the club.
In addition, second-top scorer Michael Higdon remains side-lined with a hamstring injury picked up in training.
Oldham too have been restricted by injuries to George Elokobi, Adam Lockwood, and Rhys Turner, and Johnson shed some light on their respective situations.
“George is training and is back in. We have been pushing him in a bit so it’s a case of managing that and not overworking him. Locky should be fine but he has a bit of an impingement on his knee.
“His knee locked during the 90 minute game so we will have to leave that a couple of days. He has responded well to treatment so he could be in contention at the weekend.
“We’ve had a set back with Rhys Turner. He is a real young talented player and he has been great but injuries have cursed him. I feel so sorry for him because he has come back and got fit but he obviously has a problem with his hamstrings.
“He could still be in a growth spurt because he has only just turned 18. It is a disaster really because he needs to make an impression soon as his contract is up at the end of the season, however, we do have faith in him and we will give him every opportunity to try and get to the bottom of his issues.”
Main image courtesy of OfficialOAFC via YouTube, with thanks.