Oldham Athletic boss Lee Johnson is warning the Latics to be at their best to beat back-on-form Tranmere Rovers – who he believes have only been ‘unlucky’ to not secure a win yet.
Rovers, with just one point from four games, travel to Boundary Park for a Greater Manchester/Merseyside battle only a day before Liverpool against Manchester United.
The Superwhites did the double over Athletic last season and despite their poor start to this campaign knocked Bolton Wanderers out of the Capital One Cup in midweek to show what they can do.
“We’ve seen their games and they’ve been really unlucky. In two games they’ve had a man sent off and a man sent off in the game before that,” Lee Johnson told Latics Player.
“Tranmere are coming here, they had a very good win [midweek in the Capital One Cup against Bolton] and played very well.
“They’ve certainly got that belief back and they beat a very good Bolton side fair and square.”
Carl Winchester is included in the squad for the first time this season and will compete with Cliff Byrne and Italian Matteo Lanzoni –signed yesterday on a four-month contract – to replace the injured Connor Brown.
Danny Philliskirk and Manchester City youngster Albert Rusnak, signed on a half-season loan, will try to fill the void left by Jose Baxter’s departure to League One rivals Sheffield for an undisclosed fee.
“I love Jose as a player and person, but it came to a point when we needed to do what was right for the club,” added Johnson.
“In an ideal world you would like to keep all your top players, but realistically we would need 10,000 crowds and to be playing the Championship and with our new stand completed to do that.
“We had to take a hit for the long-term benefit of the club, but have already signed two very good players in Lanzoni and Rusnak.
“Both these players represent good value for us and exciting times are ahead.”
Rovers boss Ronnie Moore will act as the pantomime villain for the afternoon due to a love-hate relationship with Latics fans after previously managing Oldham between March 2005 and May 2006.