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Club News

Latics vs. Chesterfield

15 March 2024

Club News

Latics vs. Chesterfield

15 March 2024

Oldham welcome runaway leaders Chesterfield to Boundary Park in Saturday’s early kick-off in the National League.

Latics will be well rested and recovered, a week on since their 2-0 defeat at Aldershot Town, whilst their scheduled clash with Halifax Town in midweek was postponed due to poor pitch conditions.

The loss also saw Micky Mellon’s men drop out of the playoff positions momentarily into eighth, where the result at the Rec also saw their impressive unbeaten away run of nine come to an abrupt halt, though attentions are now set to turn to Chesterfield’s visit.

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The meeting between the two sides is likely to produce an intense and well fought contest, with both holding top defensive records this season, though despite Oldham’s indifferent home form of late, Athletic may take confidence into affairs.

Latics are one of three sides this season to have taken points off Chesterfield away from home, whilst they have only lost once in their last nine against their upcoming opponents, signs of a good omen perhaps.

The Opposition

Meanwhile Chesterfield have recovered quickly from their brief stumble in league action, where the 4-1 defeat at Dorking Wanderers was part of a run of just one win in five outings.

The 2-0 win over Oxford City secured consecutive wins at the SMH Group Stadium, in which they scored six times and conceded just once. Their visit to Boundary Park meanwhile is one of five trips the league leaders will make in their last eight fixtures.

Chesterfield the new juggernauts of the fifth tier

Unfortunately for Oldham, Chesterfield’s away form is just as good as their home form. The Spireites have failed to score on the road on just one occasion, which came at Solihull, whilst interestingly Chesterfield have avoided sharing the points in their last 11 trips.

Their dominance this campaign cannot be understated, which has even seen several periods in games controlled by the top dogs. Chesterfield have scored ten times in the last fifteen minutes of the first half on the road without response, by far their most impactful stint away, something for Mellon to potentially anticipate.

Though frankly they have been the best side in the National League this season, home and away. Spireites’ 37 points in 18 trips tops the charts, whilst Latics will have to produce a special display if they wish to return to winning ways.

Key Threat

It can be simple to highlight the goal-getters and match winners, and whilst those individuals are undoubtedly an essential cog in a title winning machine, it's important to recognise those whose impact goes beyond.

Whilst Will Grigg’s 24 league strikes have unquestionably won Chesterfield points this season, Liam Mandeville’s driving engine in the heart of midfield and ability to set the intensity for the rest of the group has been nothing short of relentless.

The 27-year-old has performed at a terrific level this campaign, whilst his 32 starts highlight just how important he has been for boss Paul Cook.

Post-match interview with Liam Mandeville | Maidenhead United (A) - YouTube

Mandeville has consistently been an eight out of ten, whilst his versatility to play as a six or an eight in midfield gives Cook a sense of ease when facing a selection problem. Meanwhile this is not to undermine his ability, where the midfielder has shown his class this season.

He has the ability to be clever and cute in the final third, his superb flick to set up James Berry in the win over Southend a prime example, whilst Mandeville can grab a goal when needed.

And whilst Oldham must keep constant tabs on the movement and instincts of Grigg, they must find a way to at least stutter Mandeville’s rhythm, as it tends to coincide with Chesterfield’s.

In the dugout

Cook’s second spell at the SMH Group Stadium has been nothing short of terrific since his arrival in the back end of the 2021/22 season, where he was able to steer the Spireites into the playoffs in just three months.

And though that run didn’t come to much in the end, his footprint on the club was there for all to see, particularly in his first full season where he managed to guide his men to a third placed finish, only behind the historic exploits of Wrexham and Notts County.

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It was an agonising end to last season, beaten by the latter in heartbreaking fashion in the playoff final though it looks to be third time lucky for Cook and his side, who have taken matters into their own hands.

23 points clear at the top of the National League will all but see Chesterfield back into the EFL for the first time in six years, though if we have learnt anything from Cook’s side, they will want to end in a flourish.

Match Details

The referee will be Garreth Rhodes, accompanied by assistants Mark Ryder and Stuart Richardson. The fourth official will be Oliver Noonan.

Match coverage and information 

Live audio commentary is available on Latics Player, guiding you through the match. 

For more information, visit the Latics Player page by clicking here

Alternatively, supporters can also follow the game with live updates on the club's official Twitter account: @OfficialOAFC 

As this game is not being played within the blocked broadcast hours stipulated by UEFA, live streaming will be available through National League TV for supporters in the UK and overseas.

Matchday passes are available for £9.50, with further details here.

As always, we will endeavour to ensure confirmation of the line-up is published as soon as possible on social media. 

However, supporters should note that team sheets in the National League are not exchanged until an hour before kick-off. This is 15 minutes later than in the EFL and as a result, the line-up is likely to be published slightly later than in previous seasons.


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