Well, two games under Caretaker Manager Mick Halsall have seen improved energy levels and a better work rate, but, unfortunately, only marginally improved results. The team needs to start delivering now and getting away from the trap door to Division 2 and the signing of Scott Fitzgerald should help, as it has been difficult to see where the goals were coming from of late. Do that and we might be seeing Mick in charge until the end of the season, when there will be time for a more considered appointment to be made.
Danny Fox and Chris Westwood will be missing from defence again, with calf and hamstring problems respectively, so Mark Wright will have to probably deputise at left back.
In midfield, Devlin will be on the second game of his three-match ban, but Michael Leary will return from his two-game suspension. However, he may have problems ousting the men in possession.
Up front, James Constable is still struggling to shake off a niggling injury that heâ€™s had in recent weeks and Mads Timm is struggling to overcome the back injury that he picked up last weekend. Halsall is expected to give a debut to front-man, Scott Fitzgerald, who scored the winner against Oldham for The Bees earlier in the season.
The line up, I suspect, may look like:
Oakes, Pead or Mills, Gerrard, Roper, Wright, James, Keates, Smith or Leary or Mills, Demontagnac or Smith, Fitzgerald, Barrowman or Nicholls
Or even, given the personnel available and who’s playing well (especially the three centre backs), Halsall may well be tempted to go for a 3 5 2, with Pead and Wright as wing backs and a central midfield of, say, Keates, Smith and Leary. We shall see.
Danger man Chris Porter, who scored against us at Boundary Park in December and has nine goals to his name so far, has been struggling with an ankle injury that he picked up in Wednesday eveningâ€™s 3 â€“ 0 win at home against Forest (in the game that ended Gary Megsonâ€™s tenure at the City Ground), but is, unfortunately, expected to be fit.
One time Walsall target (in his Manchester United days, or so it was rumoured) and key midfielder Richie Wellens suffered a hamstring strain during that game but should also be OK, as should fellow midfielder Paul Edwards.
David Eyres, 42 later this month, could be part of the travelling squad after overcoming a recent niggling injury.
Predictions? Oldham go into the game in eighth place and chasing a play-off place. They had a good 3-0 victory over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening but their away form isnâ€™t too good, having won just once in their last six games on the road. Over the course of the season, they have drawn 6 and lost 7 of their 17 away from Boundary Park, so it looks as if it is their home form that is keeping them in the hunt.
We lost narrowly at Boundary Park back in December, in a game that has had a big effect on our season so far, as it was when we lost the promisingly influential Eric Skora to injury, when he looked as if he may have been capable of turning the season around on his own. It was not to be then, but Iâ€™m expecting tomorrowâ€™s game to have a beneficial effect as we get the three points we need so badly. Home win.