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Maamria Ready For Test On Familiar Ground

21 November 2019

Latics travel to Newport County on Saturday as the club return to Sky Bet League Two action after an extended break.

Dino Maamria was pleased to have no fixture last weekend and decided to take the squad away from the club but still spend quality time together.

"I think we enjoyed the last weekend off. It's been good for us, we've had a few too many games. With a lot of injuries in the squad as well with a small pool of players to pick from.

"It's really a dilemma, do you give the players three or four days off to rest physically and mentally or do you get them in and work them hard. We probably need a bit of everything.

"I gave them a physical and mental rest and then we went paintballing. It was good to develop the team spirit within the camp.

"It was a really good day, the lads enjoyed it. We then had Saturday and Sunday off and then we were back on it on Monday."

He added: "As for me personally, in my position you don't get time off but I'm not complaining, I love my job, I love what I'm doing, I thrive on it. I went to watch a game in our league, I did my match prep for the next month as we've got a lot of games coming up. 

"I wanted to make sure that I am ready and in the best place possible to inspire the team to win games."

The hosts, Newport have only lost once at home this season and Maamria acknowledges a trip to Rodney Parade will be difficult. 

"They were unbeaten at home for a long time, Newport is one of my favourite clubs. I spent a brilliant six months there, I think the fans are fantastic, the owners, Gavin the chairman is a fantastic guy. He's one of the best people I've worked with in football. 

"Michael Flynn is also a fantastic manager and good friend of mine. I've always had a good reception there, so it's a game personally that I'm looking forward to. I've won there 1-0 and lost there 1-0, two contrasts but it was always tight games."

He continued: "I know what to expect from Flynn's teams, I know what to expect from Newport players as I know them pretty well. They are tough, they are hard working and they do the basics very well. I like them a lot, I am a big admirer and was hoping they went up last season." 

County were in action mid-week as they defeated manager-less Grimsby Town 2-0 in their Emirates FA Cup Replay, but the Latics boss thinks Saturday's opponents will be ready for both games due to the strength-in-depth.

"I know Flynny will be focusing on both games and I think they have enough in their squad to focus on both games. I think they'll be looking to try and get a good run in the FA Cup as well. 

"For us, it doesn't change anything. We know what to expect from them, it's just about making sure that I am picking the best team possible."

Maamria also wants Oldham to improve their away form and has been working hard with the players to do so.

"We need to improve our away form, we need to find a way of playing. Although we beat Gateshead I wasn't really happy with the performance, if that makes sense.

"I was satisfied with the result but not with the performance. We need to improve on that. I've been working a lot on different ways, how we can make our away performance better."

The boss also offered an update on some of Oldham's injured players with Zak Mills, David Wheater and Desire Azankpo all nearing a return.

"I didn't really want to play Zak Mills for 90 minutes against Fleetwood, he has just come back from a long injury.  

"But, he played 90 minutes and was very good first-half, he was actually one of the bright sparks on the night. We have to manage him the right way, with the injury history that he's got.

"It's touch and go to have him on the pitch on Saturday, if we have him it'll be a big bonus for us.

"David Wheater has been training as well, we've got to manage his training load. With a back injury you never know but fingers crossed he'll be fit.

"And Desire is also back training, he came on for half-an-hour at Fleetwood and scored a goal. He's been training this week and hopefully he'll be in contention for Saturday. Branger is still injured for a while yet."

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