Sky Bet League 1
Saturday 3rd August 2013
The Lamex Stadium, Stevenage
Kick Off: 3pm
Weather Forecast: Sunny intervals, 21°c
Referee: D Sheldrake (Surrey)
Stevenage kick-off their League 1 campaign this weekend by hosting Oldham Athletic at The Lamex Stadium. After weeks of pre-season training and a number of friendlies this Saturday sees the start of the league action as Graham Westley and his men look to get off to a winning start.
Last time we met:
Oldham came from behind to secure a 2-1 win Boro took the lead early on when the Latics failed to clear and James Dunne rifled home from the edge of the area. Captain Dean Furman latched onto a Matt Smith head down early on in the second half to equalise, before Lucas Akins had a goal ruled out for offside. But James Tarkowski headed in a Jonathan Grounds corner to continue caretaker boss Tony Philliskirk's unbeaten run.
Boro: Day, Gray, Chorley, Charles, Comminges, Akins (Shroot), Dunne, Grant, Freeman, Haber, Beleck (Hoskins)
Subs not used: Arnold, Hills, Roberts, Iro
Stevenage are likely to hand competitive debuts to several of their squad. Sam Wedgbury, Luke Jones, Simon Heslop, Oumare Tounkara and Jordan Burrow should all play some part in this fixture whilst Dani Lopez is suspended and Ben Chorley and Jimmy Smith are out.
Oldham are likely to throw new signing Adam Rooney straight into the starting XI after the striker signed on a free transfer from Birmingham City. Lee Johnson could also give debuts to former Boro striker Charlie MacDonald, James Dayton, Mark Oxley and Sidney Schmeltz amongst others.
The Oldham Scout Report
Oldham finished 19th place in League One last season, one place and three points below Boro. Despite enjoying an FA Cup run which saw the club beat Liverpool and take Everton to a replay at Goodison Park, the Latics struggled in the league. Manager Paul Dickov was replaced by current boss Lee Johnson, who has spent the summer rebuilding his side and working on its style of play, hoping to have a more positive impact in the forthcoming campaign.
The Latics came through pre-season unbeaten picking up draws against Dinamo Bucharest (2-2) and Accrington (1-1) and wins against Curzon Athletic (2-0), Macclesfield Town (4-1) and Huddersfield Town (3-2).
Possible Oldham line-up for Saturday (4-4-1-1 formation):
Mark Oxley; Conor Brown, James Tarkowski, David Mellor, Jonathan Grounds; James Dayton, Korey Smith, Joe Baxter, Cristian Montano; Charlie MacDonald; Adam Rooney
Subs from: Danny Gosset, Cliff Byrne, Sidney Schmeltz, Clarke-Harris, Kirk Millar, Luke Simpson, Joe Cooper, Jack Truelove, Edijs Joksts
Jose Baxter will be a pivotal player for Oldham this season thanks to his creativity and goal scoring prowess. The 21-year old former Everton striker became the Toffee’s youngest ever first-team player whilst at the club for whom he made 15 appearances. After a loan spell at Tranmere the youngster left Goodison Park in search of first-team football and joined the Latics in September 2012. He scored 15 in 50 appearances for Oldham last season and has been in impressive form in pre-season, finding the back of the net against Dinamo Bucharest, Accrington and Huddersfield in recent weeks. He appears to have been given a more creative, attacking midfield role in Lee Johnson’s side so Boro will need to watch him closely in this season opener.