Oldham Athletic have to neutralise Port Vale’s strike force to secure much-needed win, says Lee Johnson

By Matthew Lees

Oldham Athletic must lock down Port Vale in the box to neutralise their strike force in order to clinch a much-needed win, claims manager Lee Johnson.

Recently-promoted from League Two, the Valiants travel up the M6 from the Potteries to play their first game at Boundary Park since November 2007.

Managed by Micky Adams, a friend of Johnson, and with ex-Latic loanee Daniel Jones plus former Oldham goal machine Lee Hughes available they pose a threat.

“He gave me my senior debut in football and while I was with him at Brighton in League Two we got promoted, I remember my time with him fondly,” Johnson told Latics Player.

“We’ve got to make sure we stop all of their threats.

“We’re in good shape and there’s a lot of young lads knocking on the door.

“I do feel we deserve more points than we’ve got on the board but its early days.”

Glenn Belezika has joined Salisbury City on a one-month loan so is replaced in the squad by fit-again David Mellor while Danny Philliskirk is included after scoring a hat-trick for the reserves in midweek.

Athletic have not beaten Vale at home in their last three attempts, the last win back in March 2005, but Johnson believes the return of Jonson Clarke-Harris from injury will boost his side.

“I think Clarke-Harris was a loss to us massively because he gives us something different,” added Johnson

“Whether it’s from the bench or the start he’s someone who can mix it up and he’s a goal threat because he’s got a shot on him.

“It could end up it the stand but it also could end up in the roof of the net.”

Meanwhile, it has been announced that Oldham’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first round tie at Shrewsbury will take place on September 3 and will kick off at 7:30pm.

Image courtesy of Sky News, with thanks.

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