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Match Previews

npower League 1 midweek preview

16 April 2013


It's father against son in what will be an interesting night at Boundary Park on Tuesday, with Oldham Athletic boss Lee Johnson welcoming his dad Gary and his Yeovil Town team to Greater Manchester.

And it's not just an important fixture because of the family connections, it's a match that could have an effect on two other teams' fate, with Portsmouth and Hartlepool United both currently five points below Oldham with only two games left to play.

A win for the Latics against the Glovers would, therefore, relegate both Pompey and the Pools to npower League 2 and dramatically boost their own hopes of survival with just one relegation place left to avoid.

The former midfielder certainly knows plenty about his dad's managerial ability and that could stand him in good stead coming into the fixture, as well as the fact his Latics team beat Bury 1-0 on Saturday.

The 31-year-old played under Gary at both Yeovil, where they won promotion from the Conference to League 2, and Bristol City, where they rose to the Championship and nearly made the Premier League.

"There will be no love lost come 7.45pm because it is such an important game for both clubs," Johnson, the Oldham manager, told in his pre-match press conference.

"There is no doubt it is tough playing for a team managed by your father. You have to have a strong personality to deal with it, both as the manager and the player. And I certainly wouldn't do it if I had a son.

"Together we were a good team and successful. The records speak for themselves and maybe he helped me, but maybe I helped him. That is the million dollar question and history, but now we find ourselves competing against each other as managers."

Gary's Yeovil remain in the mix at the top of the division and confirmed their place in the Play-Offs with a victory against Stevenage on Saturday. They could still make the top two, although they have a five-point margin to make up if they want to get automatic promotion to the Championship.

"We are both at least smiling before the game and that's the main thing," Johnson senior told the Western Gazette, referring to the wins both teams picked up in their last match.

"It will be strange but I'm afraid there will be no love lost because we are both very professional and we both need the points.

"I know what his management style will be and I think it will be perfect to get Oldham out of trouble."


Brentford have the opportunity to replace Bournemouth in the npower League 1 automatic promotion places on Tuesday when they travel to Sheffield United.

The Bees trail the second-placed Cherries by just two points and the match against the Blades is their game in hand, meaning they can move into the top two with what would be a valuable victory.

Uwe Rosler's men were 3-2 winners against Portsmouth on Saturday and, with two of their goals being scored in the final five minutes, it is a result that would have given them a boost.

One of the Bees' starlets this season, Harry Forrester, told the Hounslow Chronicle: "All the pressure is on them [Sheffield United].

"They are expected to go up with their stadium, budget etc. We can go there and express ourselves. They will be right up for it. They will be physical, as they always are, but we've got enough in our squad to compete.

"We're showing we are one of the big boys ourselves and they're going to know much more about us. We've got enough to go there and get a result."

The match at Bramall Lane is also a significant one for Sheffield United, as they can still make the automatic promotion places themselves.

The Blades, who currently sit fifth, trail Bournemouth by six points but have played two games less, meaning they are still in with a good shout of achieving automatic promotion to the Championship.

Chris Morgan's first game in charge ended with a victory on Saturday, against fellow Play-Off dwellers Swindon Town, and attacker Jamie Murphy believes the fans' encouragement is rubbing off on the team.

He explained to The Star: "The atmosphere from the crowd was great [against Swindon] and the atmosphere among the boys was great as well.

"The fans are superb here and we want to get promoted for them as much as us. We are capable of doing it. Definitely.

"We've got four games left, including this one, and we need to try and win every single one of those. It's up to us to do the business. Brentford will come with confidence but were are confident in our ability, too."


Scunthorpe United are battling against relegation alongside Oldham, and sit just one place below the Latics, in the bottom four. The Iron are two points adrift of their relegation rivals, and safety, so will see three points on Tuesday night in their match against already-relegated Bury as a must.

If they don't pick up a win at Gigg Lane against the Shakers, Brian Laws' men could find themselves five points away from safety with just two games remaining, leaving them with an uphill task to avoid dropping into npower League 2.

Scunthorpe could still catch Colchester United, who are 19th and five points above the drop zone ahead of their Tuesday night clash with Milton Keynes Dons. The U's will remain confident of avoiding the drop and three points against the Dons would all but confirm their place in League 1 for another season.

Karl Robinson's team, meanwhile, are still battling to break into the Play-Off places - they currently sit 10th, four points behind sixth-placed Swindon Town. The Dons' hopes of a top-six finish could be totally wiped out if they fail to win, though, and the Robins get a victory in their home fixture against Crewe Alexandra.

Swindon haven't won in five, losing their last three on the bounce, so will need to regain some of the momentum they had in the earlier stages of the season to get their promotion push back on track.

Mid-table Crewe, on the other hand, have lost the two games since their Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final success at Wembley, against Brentford and leaders Doncaster Rovers.

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