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PREVIEW Portsmouth v Oldham Athletic
Friday 29th September 2017 @ 16:15 by Tom Greggan
Previews Sports

Oldham Athletic Caretaker Manager Richie Wellens will be looking to make it two wins from two games in management when his side makes the long journey to Portsmouth on Saturday.

But he will have to do so without on-loan Preston striker Eoin Doyle who will miss the trip through injury.

Doyle recovered from a horrendous mistake to score two crucial goals in Oldham’s surprise 3-2 win over high-flying Peterborough on Tuesday night, but played the last five minutes through the pain barrier, with his side down to ten men and all three substitutes made.

The 29-year-old Irishman will be a big miss against a stingy Portsmouth defence; the newly-promoted side have conceded just two league goals in their first ten games.

Speaking at his press conference on Thursday, Richie Wellens said: “Eoin Doyle’s out injured so that’s a blow. It’s lucky I’ve got (Aaron) Holloway back. It will probably be a straight swap for Holloway. I’m just gutted Doyle is not fit because his energy and his finishing is outstanding.

“He just felt something in the last five minutes. I’d already made three subs so I couldn’t take him off. Maybe it was the eight minutes of injury time? He’s not done much in the last few weeks. He came here and played a lot of games in short space of time. It’s been difficult for him to get his levels back up but you can see his quality. He just felt something at the end and what I don’t want to do is force him to play and then he’s out for six weeks.”

Midfielders Paul Green and Ryan Flynn remain sidelined through injury, although Wellen’s admitted Paul Green is close to a return.

The Latics will also be without experienced defender Brian Wilson, who is serving a one match ban after an appeal against his red card versus Peterborough was unsuccessful.

Wilson could be replaced in the squad by 19-year-old Jamie Stott, who impressed in a reserve game on Wednesday night.

Wilson started in a back-three alongside Peter Clarke and Kean Bryan on Tuesday, a system that Wellens is expected to stick with. Whoever plays will have to be wary of Portsmouth striker Brett Pitman, who is the division’s joint top goalscorer with eight goals in just ten games.

20-year-old Bryan, who is also equally adept at playing in midfield, is expecting a difficult trip to a packed Fratton Park. “It’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “They’ll have a lot of fans there but anything can happen. I’ve always said that in this league, anyone can beat anyone. I feel like if we recover our bodies well and go there with a good mentality then we can get a good result.”

Portsmouth currently sit in 11th place in League One, having won four, lost four and drawn two of their first ten games. But Bryan wants a positive result to send the fans home happy: “It’s a long way for the fans to come to see us get beat so we have to go out there and give everything and hopefully we can get the win for them.”


Picture credit: Darren Shaw