Battle of the early under-achievers as Mansfield Town host Oldham Athletic

Dino Maamria
Dino Maamria

Mansfield Town will try to make it back-to-back wins in League Two when they host Oldham Athletic at the One Call Stadium tomorrow.

Like Mansfield, Oldham made a surprisingly poor start to the campaign which cost Frenchman Laurent Banide his job late last month after winning only one of the first nine games which had left the Latics 21st.

Dino Maamria, sacked by winless Stevenage only 11 days earlier, was then the surprise choice to steer the Latics back up the table.

Former Southport and Nuneaton boss Maamria, 48, said his first priority was to stabilise and unite this club and quickly chalked up his first win a few days later – a 3-1 win over Morecambe before losing 1-0 at Carlisle United.

Last Saturday they drew 1-1 against Cheltenham.

On his appointment just over three weeks ago, he said: “Sometimes it is difficult to get back in management, so I guess I am fortunate.

“But the board at Oldham clearly took notice of what I’d achieved (in 18 months) at Stevenage.

“Last season we won 20 league games in narrowly missing out on the play-offs.

“I will be relentless in seeking wins and success at Oldham now.

“This club has been underachieving for too long. It’s been in decline.

“Oldham is a big club in League Two and as far as I can see we can get back up to the Championship within two or three years.

“Everything is in place, the stadium, the players, the training, the training. It just ticks so many boxes.

“I want to get this club connecting with the fans again.

“This club has been in transition, but now’s the time to stabilise, and I want to help do that.”

Stags do have a score to settle with Oldham as the 3-2 defeat at Boundary Park on 22nd April was one of the three defeats in a row at the end of last season which denied the Stags promotion, having only needed to chalk up a win in one of them to reach League One.

After finishing 14th, Oldham rang the changes in the summer, bringing in 12 new faces, culminating in the deadline day loan captures of Filipe Morais (from Crawley Town) and Jonathan Smith (from Bristol City), plus the signing of ex-Ashton United wide man Dominic McHale a few days earlier.

Among their key signings was former Manchester United winger Chris Eagles, the 33-year-old putting pen-to-paper on a 12-month deal with the Latics.

Striker Scott Wilson arrived on a free transfer from Macclesfield Town, the 26-year-old having been the Silkmen’s top goalscorer last season.

Czech defender Tomas Egert arrived at Boundary Park looking to prove his fitness after missing last season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, having been released by Burton Albion on their relegation from the Championship.

Desire Segbe-Azankpo was signed on a one-year-deal after a season at Slovak club FK Senica, where he made 29 appearances and scored six goals, and he was joined by fellow striker Marvin Kokos on a two-year deal.

Kokos is a product of the Marseille academy and can also operate on the wing.

The 18-year-old was previously at Gazélec Ajaccio in France.

The Latics have former Stags player Alex Iacovitti in their defence, the Scot having played eight games on loan from Forest in 2016/17.