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Maamria Playing Strongest Side Possible

13 November 2019

Latics head to the Highbury Stadium for the final Northern Group B fixture in the Trophy tonight.

Both sides know that a win, whether that is in 90 minutes or after a penalty shootout, will make them progress into the knockout stages and Maamria is under no illusions that he wants to be that team.

"We were always going to go strong. I knew we had a big week, this week. We came through Sunday with a win and we knew we have another tough one against Fleetwood.

"It's a cup competition again and we've got to win to go through to the next round. My thoughts were always to go with a strong team."

He added: "We're in a good place at the minute and want to create a little bit of momentum going forward. We want to make sure we get through November and attack December on a positive note.

"December is a big month for us and I've got to make sure I'm picking the best team possible to win every game that we can."

Unbeaten in four games in all competitions, the two back-to-back cup knockout competitions provide Oldham with a different test against different teams,  but the Head Coach is also expecting the hosts to be thinking the same in their approach with both sides having a free weekend.

"We're unbeaten and we're getting better slowly. To be fair with Fleetwood also not playing at the weekend as well so I expect them to put a strong team out. It should be an exciting game.

"I'm sure Joey Barton will get his team trying to win it, so will we and a it's a game we're looking forward to."

The EFL Trophy provides a new challenge to teams participating it in and as Maamria reflected on his past experiences, he's glad that the game against Fleetwood is clear cut in terms of how to win the fixture.

"It's been difficult for me personally to get my head around it because I remember last season you're picking a strong team against Swansea and we won it comfortably and then the following game we play Charlton at home and I picked some of the youth players and then Charlton put out a strong team, so we ended up losing heavily in that game.

"So it's difficult to gauge, but what I can get from this game because it's 'winner takes all' and especially with Fleetwood having no game at the weekend like us, I know where I stand and I'm preparing my team to play against Fleetwood's best team.

"And it also makes it that little bit more clearer in terms of our preparation and we know what we're facing."

With a late cancellation to the schedule due to international call-ups, Oldham find themselves with a schedule that is less hectic, but Maamria is planning ahead to make sure the momentum doesn't stop.

"It helped us having the game off at the weekend because we're light on numbers as it is. We knew we had a big week in two cup competitions.

"Then we still to travel to Stevenage, but obviously the cancellation at the weekend they made sure they called it off. They've got their reasons and we were looking forward to it despite the heavy schedule, but it is what it is and we'll use the Fleetwood game wisely and then have ten days to prepare for Newport which is another huge game for us."

Wanting to play his strongest team, Maamria will be faced with some selection issues due to recent injuries as well as the suspension of Dylan Fage after his red card in the last group game against Accrington.

"Both Wheater and Azankpo are touch and go. Missilou will probably be out, Tomas will be out and it's disappointing Fage is suspended because it would've been a game he'd be a part of. 

"I've got to make sure I pick the strongest team possible at my disposal and we're treating it as a proper game and we've got to make sure that we're ready and I'm sure we are."

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