Talking Tactics, Fore and Aft Latics
It is only just over a month ago that Argyle recorded a 4-1 win at home to the League One club, but Derek is not getting too carried away just yet.
He said: “We had a very good victory against them down here, and we’d like to do likewise up there on Saturday. It’s a tough fixture for us, but it’s one where we’re in good form, and we’ll have to be on Saturday.”
Oldham have had a busy transfer window, with Derek highlighting the number of additions they have made to their squad so far.
“They’ve taken in Ben Pringle from Preston,” said Derek. “They’ve taken in [Jack] Byrne on a permanent basis. They have Kean Bryan back from Manchester City. They have a suspension at centre half, and another injury at centre half. I wouldn’t be surprised if they signed someone else before the game on Saturday in that position.”
Although Oldham are in the relegation zone, only six points separates them from Argyle, which Derek is wary of. He’s keen to ensure that, at this stage of the season, gaps like that do not get any slimmer.
He said: “We would like to extend that gap to nine points, and that’s what we’ll try and do. I think it’s important to try and catch the other teams above us.
“I think with 17 games to go every game at this stage of the season is important. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. We understand we’re playing a team who’s around about us in the table. We’re away from home and we’d like to continue our good away record.”
Derek is positive that the reaction to the defeat against Wigan will not affect the players, suggesting that it would in fact have a positive effect on the squad, so good was Argyle’s performance against the league leaders.
“I think confidence has been gained after last week,” Derek said. “We lost the match but we played very well in the game. We lost poor goals at bad times and we just didn’t take our opportunities when they came along.
“We competed against a team that’s top of the league, and I think that’s important. We know that we just have to improve in that final third by taking our opportunities when they come along. The goals we conceded, we’ve all seen them and they’re all preventable.”
The only new injury for Derek to deal with is Jordan Bentley, who suffered a broken leg during a training ground incident. Derek confirmed that the young defender has now had surgery.
“Yeah, he’s got a double break, fibula and tibia. He’s going to be out for probably around the six months mark. It’s a clean break. He’s had the operation, he’s had a pin inserted and he’s still in hospital.”