Winger Ryan McLaughlin made his long-awaited return to the side on Tuesday night following a hamstring injury he picked up away to Rotherham United in September.
McLaughlin came on as a 77th minute substitute in the 0-1 win over Bradford City which secured Athletic a passage through to the third round of the Checkatrade Trophy.
The 23-year-old was delighted to get back out on the field and said: “It felt strange to be back.
“It’s been just over two months since I’ve been out and it was good to be back out there. It was even better because we won the game and it helps my fitness as well so I’m delighted to be back.
“I worked hard and got back two weeks quicker than expected. My fitness isn’t 100% at the minute but the other night would have helped me a lot.”
Watching games can usually be tough for a footballer when they are injured but the winger has been very impressed with Richie Wellens’ style of football.
“It hasn’t been as tough watching from the stand because we’ve been playing good football,” he commented.
“We have been passing teams off the park and it’s been great to watch. You are on the edge of your seat and you want to get involved. I don’t like being left out but the lads have been brilliant and it’s been a pleasure to watch.”
Northampton Town are the visitors this weekend and McLaughlin predicts a tight encounter.
“I know a couple of players there. They have signed a couple of players in the summer and they seem to have built a good team there so we know it’s going to be a difficult game,” he said.
“The way we are playing and the players we have, we feel we can beat anybody and get the three points.”
The day also marks our Emergency Services Day. Over 400 tickets have been distributed to our emergency services and McLaughlin also visited Oldham Fire Station as part of the build up.
“It was an eye opener,” he admitted. “You realise how lucky you are and they are the real heroes.
“They save people’s lives and work mad hours and you can only really applaud them for what they do. The club is doing that by bringing them to the game so hopefully we put on a performance for them too.”