Welcome back to my journey with Oldham Athletic. In the previous post, we went through a full first season review, outlining results up until the end of the season and our League 2 win.
In this post we will highlight a lot of changes made at the club in preparation for life in League 1; including backroom staff changes, transfer ins and outs as well as a tactical and training update.
Backroom Staff Changes
We made a few changes to the backroom staff, mainly in an attempt to up the quality of coaches at our disposal. This is an area that still seems to be difficult for Oldham as we struggle to attract the best-rated coaches to the club.
IN: Kevin Hunt – Chief Scout
First in for us was Kevin Hunt as Chief Scout. Hunt is a very adaptable scout that knows his way around both England and France. Having spent the best part of the last decade scouting with both Manchester City and Liverpool, Hunt has the credentials to be able to spot a player.
IN: Mitar Popovic – Head Physio
Popovic is a top draw physio. Joining us as Head Physio after 19 years with Borac in his native Serbia, I’m hoping Popovic can spur on out medical team and reduce injury impacts where possible.
IN: Richard Goddard-Crawley – Physio
Goddard-Crawley is another top quality physio joining our medical set-up. With over a decades experience with Arsenal, it’s safe to say that Goddard-Crawley as seen it all.
IN: Sjaak Van Den Helder – Scout
Van Den Helder joins us with extensive knowledge of Europe and Scandinavia and really should help us find and attract quality foreign talent. With 6 years experience scouting for Celtic and Huddersfield, Van Den Helder really has an eye for spotting potential.
IN: Tony Colbert – Fitness Coach
Probably the backroom staff signing of the summer, I was incredibly excited when Colbert signed on the dotted line and agreed to join us in a Fitness Coach capacity. One of the best Fitness Coaches out there, Colbert comes with 20 years experience with Arsenal and is quite possibly one of the best additions I could have hoped to add to the set-up.
IN: Antonio Falanga – Coach
Falanga joins us in a coaching capacity to help boost the quality of the coaching team. An extremely versatile coach who has the ability to work in
Transfer INs and OUTs
We brought in a lot first team and backup players this summer after the majority of last season’s squad either left at the end of their contracts or their loan deals ended.
Jack Webster – Bentleigh Greens (Australia) – Free. Webster is a solid 29-year-old centre-back brought is as more of a backup with injuries in mind. A 2.5-star ability player, he will slot into the team nicely when called upon.
George Legg – Reading – £4.2k. Legg is a young goalkeeper at only 23-years-old, brought in for a small fee from Reading. I’m expecting Legg to be competing for a first-team place right from the off. 3-star ability with 4.5-star potential. Definitely one for the future.
Jordan Lyden – Aston Villa – Free. After an impressive season with us last season on loan I could not resist the opportunity to sign up Lyden when his Villa contract expired. A good, versatile player that can fill both right-back and defensive midfield and also at only 23-years-old, I am confident Lyden will only continue to develop.
Ashley Nadesan – Fleetwood – Free. 24 goals over 42 appearances on loan at Carlisle last season, Nadesan certainly has an eye for goal. With fire-power much needed up top for us this season, I’m hoping Nadesan can continue to thrive.
Jamie Cumming – Chelsea – Free. A 20-year-old goalkeeper brought in for Free after his Chelsea youth contract expired, Cumming is more one for the future and I will be keeping a close eye on his development.
Sam Hart – Rochdale – Free. Continuing the free transfer trend, Hart was brought in to vie for a place with Rob Hunt at left-back. A solid season with Rochdale at the same level last year, Hart should be a solid signing.
Harry Charsley – Everton – Free. Another for the future, brought in after his Everton youth contract expired. Charsley should hopefully bring up addition creativity form attacking midfield and I look forward to seeing what he can achieve.
Matty Foulds – Port Vale – Free. Another left-back, and another coming through the Everton youth ranks. Brought in a backup for Sam Hart, a solid young player with 4-star potential.
Joe Fryer – Carlisle – Free. Fryer was brought in as first choice goalkeeper, however has found it difficult of later competing with George Legg for the Number 1 spot. I look forward to seeing how far they can both push each other.
James Weir – Hull City – Free. Probably one of my more favourite summer signings. I’ve watching Weir come through the Manchester youth ranks before moving onto Wigan and then Hull. A natural a variety of positions, Weir will certainly add much needed quality to the line-up.
Darren Lyon – Peterborough – Free. Brought in to add much needed steel to the midfield. A natural ball-winning midfielder who is not afraid to jump into a tackle, Lyon should help us keep control in the centre of the park.
Kaylen Hinds – Bournemouth – Loan. Our first loan signing of the window, I was excited when Hinds agreed to join us. With a lethal right foot, Hinds will be a quality addition up front alongside George Thomas.
Josh Pask – West Ham United – Loan. Our second loan signing arrived in the form of Pask from West Ham. Brought in as a first-choice centre back with 4-star potential, I’m hoping this is another player I can snag on a free when his contract expires at the end of the season.
George Thomas – Leicester City – Loan. The third loan signing, brought in to compete with and play alongside Kaylen Hinds up top. Between the two, they look like an exciting pair to keep an eye on.
Philippe Sandler – Manchester City – Loan. I originally approached City with the view to bring in Sandler as a permanent signing, however, he had zero interest in joining. Settling on a loan deal instead, Sandler will slot nicely alongside Josh Pask in the back-line.
Rob Hall – Fleetwood – Free. Another free transfer brought in from Fleetwood. A quality signing who can play on both wings will add much versatility to the team. His pace and dribbling as stand-out attributes, Hall could be leaving defenders in his wake.
Liam Millar – Burnley – Loan. The fifth and final loan signing for the season. Millar has come in to add depth to the wings and front-line. A young player with bags of potential, one to keep an eye on in the future.
Jonathan Benteke – Olympiakos Nicosia – Free. Benteke started the season looking extremely promising but unfortunately could not continue the good run of form and ended up played 7 games all year. Benteke wanted to leave as earlier as January but without being able to find a suitable club, his contract winded down to him leave on a free at the end of the season.
Zeus De La Paz – Tampa Bay Rowdies – Free. A player that just was not good enough for League 2 level and being on extortiate wages, I sought to remove De La Paz as quickly as possible. Tampa Bay came in with a bid of £0 which I instantly accepted just to remove him from the wage bill.
Jim Cookson – Cambridge United – Free. A 17-year-old player than has next to no potential, when Cambridge came calling for his signature there was no reason to stand in his way of leaving. Cookson was at the club less that 2 months after arriving in the March Youth Intake.
Ousmane Fane – Dunkerque – A player that is very sceptical to long term injuries, Fane was a player I was attempted to remove from the club completely. Unable to find a club willing to match his value, I reluctantly accepted a loan offer from Dunkerque who will be playing 100% of his wages for the season.
4-1-2-3 DM Asymmetrical AM(L) – Custom Fluid Counter-Attack
In terms of our tactic, we have decided to go with a very similar and familiar tactic from last season. The 4-1-2-3 DM Asymmetrical AM(L) – Custom Fluid Counter-Attack worked wonders for us last season and the team gelled extremely well with it.
Due to us being predicted for the bottom half of the table I’ve taken a higher structured approach to the formation in an attempt to ensure that the team stick to what they are required to do only.
The only other differences are changing one of the centre-backs from No-Nonsense Centre-Back to Ball-Playing Defender instead as I’m hoping to play out more from the back and build up it to final third of the pitch. I’ve also changed the left-winger to a Winger from an Inside-Forward to try and persuade more width out wide instead of focusing everything down the middle. Finally the attacking midfielder has changed from an Attacking Midfielder to a Shadow Striker to provider extra support to the lone Advanced Forward up top.
4-2-2-1-1 2DM AM Narrow – Custom Low Block
We’ve also kept it familiar with our backup “shithouse” tactic. This one hasn’t changed at all as it was far too effective last season when required upon. The team slot in well the the positions and roles used and their seemed no need to change what was already working.
Given we are currently still in the pre-season stage of the second season, there is not really much to talk about in the way of training. I’ve not yet changed a lot as I’m still waiting to see how the new additions adapt to the squad. However, one thing I’m looking to build on, as usual, is the coaching staff as the responsibilities between them seems to be spread thin quite a lot. We are mostly 3-4 stars across the training categories but I would prefer to push to at least 4 stars in all.
In terms of mentoring, I’ve gone with attempting to have as many small groups as possible where there is at least one senior squad member that has a significant estimated influence on the group. This is reflected with Rob Hunt, Peter Clarke and Jose Baxter taking charge of their respective groups. I have also added a fourth group of four members, two with average influence and two with light influence, as these were the only four players left in the squad not in any mentoring capacity.
With positional units, I’ve gone for a more standard approach at the moment rather than tinkering with who can be where. Goalkeepers in Goalkeeping Unit, defensive minded players in Defensive Unit and attacking minded players in the Attacking Unit.
The next post will focus on the first few months of the season, how we are faring in League One, how the new additions are getting on and any changed to tactics and training.
I’m also going to attempt to have more regular updates of the save as it has been far to long between posts, but now with a bit more time, I should be able to do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback regarding the posts and my writing. I can be found on Twitter and Discord (Links below).