October 8, 2012 by backofthenetjl
In the lower leagues, possession isn’t really too important and some might say that your fate doesn’t depend on the quality of your defence either. But what every team needs is a player that is capable of putting the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis; and Oldham Athletic are extremely lucky to be able to boast 5 strikers. Lets have a look at Oldham’s attacking options.
Oldham are seriously lucky that they have a player of Derbyshire’s ability to score goals; 3 games into his spell with Latics, he has already came up with the goods twice. Despite only being 26, it seems as if the former England u-21 international has been around for quite a while now; with the player admitting it himself. He is a player that comes with Premier League and Champions League experience under his belt and it is simply a privilege for him to be plying his trade with us, albeit for a short loan spell. It may only be for a month’s loan but I believe even in a short space of time, Derbyshire can make an enormous impact and if he continues to find the net, then his goals might be crucial come the end of the season. He is a typical number 9 in my eyes and you always feel he has goals in his locker. He holds the ball up very well and is brilliant at bringing others into play, aswell as making some superb runs behind opposition defences. He is also quick off the mark and has a good turn of pace, which will certainly come in handy. I expect Derbyshire to be one of the first names of the team-sheet at Oldham and hope that his loan can be extended.
Baxter was deemed as ‘the next Wayne Rooney’ when he burst onto the scene at Goodison Park and Everton were definitely aware of the talent he had. He was offered a new two year contract with the Toffees, but fair play to him, he turned it down because he was desperate to be playing regular first-team football, something he could not be guaranteed. When he signed for Oldham, I was delighted and believed it was a phenomenal coup; bringing in a player that is still young and developing, yet has already shown his qualities at England u-16 and u-17 level, aswell as making a few appearances for Everton. At the moment, he may not be at full-match fitness but still managed to come off the bench on his debut against Notts County and bag a goal; even being denied a 2nd disallowed goal. He has signed a four-month contract with Latics, which is likely to be extended, given that the player himself has expressed his desire to remain at Boundary Park for a little longer. Baxter is a very clever player that usually occupies the role behind the striker and I am thrilled that he is playing with us and am very much looking forward to his contributions this season.
A player that I rate very highly at Oldham, who has scored some brilliant goals last season, including a memorable opening goal at Anfield in the Fa Cup. He will be competing with Baxter for the role behind the striker and at the moment he might just have the edge over him. Simpson had a superb pre-season, though he hasn’t continued that form into the start of this season, I still think we will see him chipping in with a good amount of goals soon. He is a top finisher at this level and has good vision, aswell as the ability to strike well from distance. Established himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet, but his position is slightly under threat with the arrival of Baxter, for me though, it will only improve his performances and I see him getting better as the season’s go on.
Rarely handed starts, but he sure is a great option to have in your squad. He offers something different that the other front-men don’t possess. He is extremely good in the air and when we are desperate for a goal, we unleash him. He is our back up plan, you could say. Our team is fairly small, but if the wingers get the ball into the box for him in the right areas, he will score goals. Smith has progressed from non-league to the football league and is still only 23. Magnificent in the air, he could prove to be a pivotal player this season, despite him not expected to be starting week in week out.
I must admit I haven’t seen too much of Taylor in action, except from the odd cameo here and there. All I can say that he is regarded as a player with a big future ahead of him. We brought him in from Newcastle and he was recommended by ex England striker Peter Beardsley. I really don’t see him featuring too much this season, but he is certainly a player for the future.