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Clash of the form teams

19 October 2012

Latics ready to play O's

Latics will be looking to extend their unbeaten run in npower League One to four games against Leyton Orient who tomorrow visit Boundary Park.

Seven points from a possible nine from their last three matches has propelled Latics from the bottom four relegation places to lower mid-table.

And with back-to-back matches on the road at Carlisle and Crawley in the next week, Latics will be eager to sign off with a home victory.

Manager Paul Dickov admits it won't be easy against the fast-improving O's.

After a disappointing start to their campaign - they failed to win in their first five league and cup matches - the O's have struck a decent vein of form.

They have won six and drawn one of their last 10 competitive fixtures which have yielded away wins at Swindon Town and Walsall to move into mid-table.

Dickov said: "The O’s, like ourselves, are enjoying a good run of form at the moment after we both had slow starts to the season. They have picked up recently so we know it will be a tough, tough game.


"They will be coming here with a lot of confidence and will believe they can win the game."

Dickov points out that O's manager Russell Slade has plenty of firepower at his disposal, though veteran Kevin Lisbie is ruled out through injury.

Slade can still call upon Ryan Brunt, who is on loan from Stoke City, David Mooney and Michael Symes.

At the opposite end of the field will be O's captain Nathan Clarke who last season had a spell on loan with Latics from Huddersfield Town.

Dickov said: "It will also be nice to welcome back Nathan who did a fantastic job for me last season on loan from Huddersfield. He is one of the best pro’s I have dealt with since I became manager.

"I would have liked to have kept him, but circumstances dictated we couldn’t. Russell actually telephoned me about him in the summer and I couldn’t have given him a more glowing reference. He is a great kid and everybody wants him to do well for the O’s, though obviously not today."

And of his side's recent displays, Dickov is pleased how his new-look squad is evolving.

He continued: "It has been pleasing to collect seven points from our last three matches which can only breed confidence.

"Our performances have been good and to go away to a hostile place like Sheffield United, who are still unbeaten in npower League One, and pick up a point can only bode well for the future.

"I thought we were excellent taking the game to Sheffield from the start and were unfortunate not to finish the first half ahead.

"They won a penalty early in the second half which, looking at it again, was a soft one but it got their tails up and you expect to be put under pressure.

" We coped with it well and got a more than deserved last-minute winner. A lot of credit has to go to the players for the character they showed.

There is a really good spirit among the group as anybody at the game last Saturday could see the determination and desire to do the right things."

Dickov added his players have set the standards in recent games which they must maintain.

"That has to be the starting point for every game and tomorrow will be tough because, after the last three games, people will be expecting us to win," he declared.

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