Near neighbours Bury and Oldham Athletic meet on Saturday, in what is an important clash at the foot of the npower League 1 table.
The Shakers sit rock-bottom and will be relegated if they lose, while the Latics will be desperate for three points to move them away from the bottom four. Here, we preview the match with the help of a supporter from each club.
MEET THE FANS
Name: Neil Davis.
Number of years as a supporter: 24.
Favourite moment as a fan: Promotion at Chesterfield, 25th April 2011.
How many games a season do you attend? 30+.
Where do you sit? South Stand.
Name: John Mellor.
Club: Oldham Athletic.
Number of years as a supporter: I went to my first game in 1985 and started attending regularly in 1988. I've been a long suffering fan ever since!
Favourite moment as a fan: Winning the championship in the old Division 2 in the 1990/91 season was a fantastic experience as a young fan. Going on from there and competing with the big boys in Division 1 for three seasons was a dream come true. It was true stuff of David against Goliath folklore!
I also can't forget our cup runs in the 1989/90 season in both the FA Cup and the League Cup - Oldham was on the map and many people's second favourite team. Indeed, our cup run this year has brought back memories of that special time all those years ago. Like now, it's just a real shame that goal line technology had not been introduced during the FA Cup semi-final replay against Manchester United in 1990. A shot from Oldham midfielder Nick Henry hit the crossbar and came back down yards over the line, only for the goal not to be given. We went onto lose 2-1 in extra time.
It's certainly been a rollercoaster ride watching Oldham Athletic - believe me.
How many games a season do you attend? As a season ticket holder, I go to all home games and around 10-12 away games a season. This may reduce next season as we've just had a new little recruit to the family!
Where do you sit? I sit in the Main Stand Lower Paddock nearest to the Chaddy End. Over the years, I've sat all over the ground but for the last two seasons I've been in the Paddock. There is a little fraternity there with a few of us having a bit of jolly banter. Sadly, we even have a little sweet swapping club going on with different sugary delights being passed around. It helps see us through the hard times on the pitch and particularly this season, Boundary Park has hardly been a fortress.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE GAME
What happened in your last match?
ND: We lost 2-0 to Hartlepool United, who we then replaced at the foot of the npower League 1 table.
JM: We lost 2-0 at Preston North End on Tuesday. Our performance in the first half was good but in the second PNE stepped up their intensity a little and changed their formation, and it won them the game. Their first goal was a penalty for handball and the second was inevitable after our goalkeeper went up for a corner in injury time in order to try and salvage us something. The ball came out to their player after the corner and he ran the full length of the field before slotting home.
Our main problem was that we were not incisive enough throughout the game although we had quite a bit of possession. We needed to capitalise on our chances in the first half but this along with gifting goals to the opposition has been the story of our season. Also, we've not been able to string together two good halves together very often this season.
Why is this game important?
ND: If we don't win we could well be relegated, and we wouldn't want to go down at the hands of one of our nearest neighbours.
JM: Saturday's away game to Bury is absolutely vital. In fact, I'd say the most important for a number of years. It would be devastating for the club to be relegated. We need to start picking up points as we can't rely on Scunthorpe United's results going our way. It's time for the players to dig in and start getting us results as games are running out fast.
How do you see this game going?
ND: Can see us losing 2-1, as that's been our favourite result at home this season!
JM: Both teams should be battling for their lives so it will likely be a scrappy affair. Bury find themselves seven points behind us, so as the old cliche says it's a real relegation six-pointer. I think we could win this game but it won't be easy. I'll plump for a draw, particularly as we have one of our better players out suspended.
Who should we keep our eye on?
ND: Tom Soares - now he's match fit he's showing some of the form that saw him transferred for over £1 million not that long ago.
JM: Before the Preston game, I would have said Jose Baxter as he has scored some vital goals for us and at times is the heartbeat of the team. However, Jose picked up a booking in that match on Tuesday so is now suspended for two games and hence he misses the encounter on Saturday. With Jose out, it's time for the other players to step up to the plate. I would say Lee Croft is a man to watch, and Cristian Montano if he plays. Our defence needs to be tight, so looking for a good performance from the back line and in particular Jean Yves M'voto needs to be dominant.
Any memories of previous encounters?
ND: Our away performance at Oldham last season was one of our best of the last two seasons - we won the match 2-0.
JM: I have memories of previous encounters but they're not really great ones. We don't really have a good recent record against Bury although they seem to continue to hold the Indian sign over us based on the last few games we've played. They beat us at home both this and last season. The away game against Bury last season was towards the end of the campaign when both teams were on their summer holidays. The game was, in a word, dismal, and petered out into a 0 0 draw. I think our overall record against Bury is relatively good - I do recall a good 4-0 win at home against them some years ago. Hopefully we can put recent history between the two clubs to bed on Saturday and come away with the three points.
ND: Bury 1 Oldham 2 - Ashley Eastham for us, Jose Baxter and Lee Croft for Oldham.
JM: It won't be a classic, more likely to be a rough and tumble Lancastrian derby but I foresee a draw, probably 1-1. It's now a two-horse race for the last relegation spot between Oldham and Scunthorpe, so we need three points desperately. Bury are cut adrift at the bottom so will want to try and win every game. It's a match of massive magnitude for Oldham Athletic.
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