Category Archives: Oldham Athletic

Wanted man: a profile on james tarkowski

As the bids pour in from West Ham United for Burnley centre-half James Tarkowski, what better time than to profile the centre-half, who could end up fetching a hefty fee this summer, with a release clause apparently set an eye-watering £50 million.

A 27 year old Tarkowski may be no spring chicken, but unlike many top flight footballers his rise to prominence came rather later in his career than most.

Now a mainstay in Sean Dyche’s solid Burnley XI, it is safe to say Tarkowski earned his stripes before making it in the big time.

Early Life

Born in Manchester and with Polish family blood, hence the surname, Tarkowski joined the academy at Blackburn Rovers before his release at the age of 14 at his own request.

Following a spell of toughening up in adult football in the North West Counties league for Maine Road, the no nonsense defender was signed by Oldham Athletic when he left school on a two-year scholarship, and was handed a professional contract in 2011 at Boundary Park.

The now Burnley man’s first taste of pro senior football came on  22 January 2011 when he appeared as a second half substitute for the Latics.

Lower League Sensation

Tawkowski went on to make 89 appearances for Oldham in all competitions, but in truth he was showing signs of a far greater level than the club could offer.

Despite this, Oldham attempted to keep their man by offering him a new contract, before a then League One Brentford came calling in 2014. Soon-after the Tic was a Bee after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee and the centre-half put pen to paper on a three and a half year deal.

After playing a bit-part role in Brentford’s promotion to the Championship, it was in the second tier of English football when the Englishman began to show his true potential.

His form across his 57 Championship outings in two seasons brought the attention of multiple clubs, with Sean Dyche’s Burnley ultimately being the lucky side to secure his signature.

On 1 February 2016, Tarkowski signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with a promotion chasing Clarets side for another undisclosed fee.

In truth the defender hasn’t always been first choice at Turf Moor, suffering a watching brief for large portions of his early time at the club, until the departure of Michael Keane to Everton opened up a position in the heart of the Burnley defence, Tarkowski has never looked back.

Since 2017/18 he has played 103 Premier League matches, including appearing in each of Burnley’s 38 games last term, underlining his new found importance to Dyche’s side. No wonder the rough speaking manager is desperate to keep hold of his man.

England Honours

Having been eligible to play for Poland through his grandfather, On 15 March 2018, Tarkowski was named in the England squad for friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy, making his debut on 27 March at Wembley Stadium starting in a 1-1 draw with the Italians.

A man of currently only two caps, there is no doubt more will come should he continue his outstanding form in the future, wherever he plies his trade.

Where Next?

With reported major interest from West Ham, including two rejected bids to date, and with Leicester City seemingly monitoring the situation, where next for James Tarkowski? If anywhere.

Whilst there is no doubt his form and levels of consistency make him worthy of a move to perhaps the slightly upper echelons of the Premier League, £50 million seems a little extortionate, although for for £10 million less you’re getting half the player Harry Maguire is, and the 27 year old Burnley man certainly isn’t that.

The West Ham link seems a strange one, not because David Moyes’ squad wouldn’t benefit from the centre back, because they would. More because it’s somewhat of a sideways, arguably backwards move for him. Despite the perceived size of the clubs, the claret and blue of Burnley finished a full six places higher than the claret and blue of West Ham last term.

It could easily be argued the Leicester switch is a more desirable, viable and perhaps suitable one. A team who certainly threatened the top four for much of the season, have Europa League football, and will compete in the domestic trophies, is perhaps whereabouts Tarkowski should be aiming.

Ready For The Elite?

TalkSport host Ally McCoist did recently question why some of the big boys in the top flight weren’t making their enquiries, however a crack at the very elite levels may just be one tiny step too far for the twice capped England man.

That said Tarkowski did make the WhoScored.com European team of the season a line-up is based purely on statistics as Burnley kept the same number of clean sheets as champions Liverpool in 2019/20, largely down to that man leading the defence.

Harrogate Town promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history

There must be something in the Yorkshire air this season. First Leeds United gain promotion to the Premier League and now Harrogate Town will be playing in the Football League next season.

What a success story for little Harrogate Town. They pushed National League Champions Barrow all the way all season, before eventually finishing second.

After defeating highly fancied Notts County in Sunday’s play-off final 3-1, it is a fairy tale story for a club living in the shadow of Leeds.

A town more famous for its tea rooms than its football club, will be playing amongst the likes of Bradford City, Forest Green Rovers, Port Vale and Oldham Athletic next season.

For the very first time in their history, Town are a Football League club. Harrogate itself attracts tourists from around the world to sample tea and cake in their famous tea rooms.

The club, who averaged around 1,400 in the National League has spent most of its existence in the Midland Football League, Northern Counties East League and Northern Premier League.

The success of Harrogate is down to the father and son team of the Weaver’s. Father Irving bought the club back in 2011. Two years earlier son Simon was appointed as Manager at the age of 31.

In his first season in charge the club finished bottom of the Conference North and were due to be relegated. However, Northwich Victoria were demoted due to financial problems and Town were reprieved.

During the 2017-18 campaign the club made the decision to turn full time. At the end of the season they won the National League North play-offs after beating Brackley Town, which earned them promotion to the National League.

The club finished sixth in their first National League campaign and were rewarded with a play-off game against AFC Fylde. Unfortunately for the Yorkshire side they were beaten 3-1 and lost out on the chance to become a Football League club.

Fast forward a year and Harrogate and the Weaver’s have been rewarded for their hard work and dedication by securing a place in the English Football League Two.

When the season starts again, little Harrogate will no doubt be written off. But in Yorkshire folk are made of true grit and with the enthusiasm of both father and son this little football club could well climb up the Football League ladder and continue to make Yorkshire proud.

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

Oldham, Can They Make The Playoffs?

Its been a couple of weeks since Paul Scholes quit, unexpectedly as boss of his hometown club Oldham Athletic, saying that the job wasn’t as advertised and their was too much interference from board room level.

What ever the reasons are we shall probably never know. However,what is for sure is that the change of coach doesn’t appear to have hampered Oldhams form in League 2.

One defeat in their last 6 and 3 wins in their last 3 games, the last of which was a 2~0 win away to Colchester United, have seen them climb to 11th in League 2, which at face value, doesn’t seem overly exciting in terms of league form, however, it means they now have 57 points from 40 games and are are just 5 points off last play off place currently occupied by Exeter City.

Spun another way, when you look at the current form table, then they actually sit in 5th Place, with a +4 goal difference.So they clearly aren’t missing Paul Scholes!

So what has happened in the period since Scholes left?… Well not much really, Oldham have reverted to Pete Wild, who was previously in charge prior to Scholes and a member of the back room staff, not to mention a dyed in the wool latics fan, who had his dream job… (his words) and prior to Scholes arrival had done a pretty decent job.

The one key factor in appointing a manager to a league club, is that they must have a connection of sorts with the club, being a fan is one thing, but when you are on the inside and promoted to the top job, then that is quite another… Just ask Dan Micchichie ( the Ex MK Dons manager ) who had previously been a coach at stadium MK and wrote to Pete Winkleman saying he could keep the club in League 1 last season.

A slight digression from the Oldham Tale, which now really does threaten, in the nicest possible way, to derail one of the current teams in the League 1 play off places, play off hopes.

Don’t bet against the latics

League 2 Promotion Race: a preview of the final 9 games

The League 2 promotion race heats up as with less than 10 games left to secure promotion to League One we here at 24/7 Football decided to take a look at the final 9 games for every team fighting for promotion.

1. Lincoln City

Lincoln City currently sit top of the table going into the final 9 games of the season. The Imps have  lead the way for the majority of the season and will be looking for a strong finish to secure their promotion to League One. The Imps last played in England’s third tier in 1999 and under the astute guidance of the Cowley brothers will be looking to play in League One for the first time this Century.

Lincoln’s recent form  – WDWWW

The Imps head into the final 9 games in impressive form with the Lincolnshire based side unbeaten in there last 14 League games. Lincoln have also won three consecutive games in a row keeping a clean sheet in the last two. Lincoln also boast an impressive Home record with the Imps unbeaten in there last 15 games making Sincil Bank a fortress.

Lincoln’s final 9 games

Mansfield Town (A) 18/03/2019

Crawley Town (A) 23/03/2019

Macclesfield Town  (H) 30/03/2019

MK Dons (A) 06/04/2019

Cheltenham (H) 13/04/2019

Carlisle United (A) 19/04/2019

Tranmere Rovers (H) 22/04/2019

Newport County (A) 27/04/2019

Colchester United (H) 04/05/2019

Lincoln’s final 9 games of the League campaign are a mixed bag of opponents with Lincoln having to face 5 of the top 8 teams in the division, 3 of which are away from Home. A long trip to Carlisle thrown in over the Easter weekend should be a deciding factor in Lincoln’s title hopes. The Imps also have to face bottom of the pile Macclesfield who could prove to be a challenging test depending on their predicament.

2.Bury

The Shakers currently sit second in the League 2 table 5 points behind leaders Lincoln. Bury have been one of League 2 most entertaining teams to watch this season with the Manchester-based side scoring 71 goals so far this season the third highest in all four divisions. The Shakers will be looking to maintain strong form into the final 9 games of the season to try and snatch the title away from Lincoln.

Bury’s recent form – WWWDW

Just like Lincoln, Bury come into the final 9 games in stupendous form with the Shakers unbeaten in there last 13 games with there last loss coming on Boxing day where Bury fell to a (2-1) defeat away at third-placed Mansfield Town. Bury haven’t failed to score in there last 12 league games with the Shakers last unable to find the back of the net away at Notts County.

Bury’s final 9 games

Cambridge United (H) 16/03/2019

Grimsby Town (A) 23/03/2019

Swindon Town (H) 30/03/2019

Carlisle United (A) 06/04/2019

Colchester United (H) 13/04/2019

Newport County (A) 19/04/2019

Northampton (H) 22/04/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 27/04/2019

Port Vale (H) 04/05/2019

Bury arguably have a much easier run in on paper than Lincoln, with the Shakers only having to play 3 of the top 7 clubs compared to Lincoln’s 5. However with 2 out of the three being away from home plus one of those being a long trip to Carlisle it could be an interesting final 9 games for Bury.

3.Mansfield Town

Mansfield Town currently occupies the third and final automatic promotion place. The Stags who have one of the biggest budgets in League Two haven’t played League One football since 2003. Mansfield currently have the best defence in League Two and the third best in the Football League.

Mansfield Town’s recent form – LWWLD

The Stags head into the final 9 games in a dip of form with the Nottinghamshire based side only winning 2 out of there last 6 games. Mansfield have also failed to pick up three points on the road in there last 5 away games. However, on the country, the Stags are unbeaten in there last 5 home games.

Mansfield’s final 9 games

Lincoln City (H) 16/03/2019

Crewe Alexandra (H) 23/03/2019

Exeter City (A) 30/03/2019

Northampton Town (H) 13/04/2019

Morecambe (H) 19/04/2019

Oldham Athletic (A) 22/04/2019

Stevenage (H) 27/04/2019

MK Dons (A) 04/05/2019

Mansfield just like Bury have to play 3 of the top 8 teams however the Stags have to play both Lincoln and Exeter in the next three games. After these games, the Stags have an easy run in playing multiple mid-table teams till a final day clash with fourth-placed MK Dons.

4.MK Dons

MK Dons currently sit just outside the League 2 automatic spots on goal difference as the Dons look for an immediate return to League One football. MK find themselves in League 2 for the first time since 2008 and are hoping that the suave and sophisticated Paul Tisdale can guide the club to promotion.

MK Dons recent form – WWWWL

The Dons head into the final 9 games in an upturn of form with MK winning 5 out of there last 6 games. However, MK have picked up strange results since the turn of the year with the Buckinghamshire based side losing (4-2) to 19th place Morecambe and a (1-0) defeat to Crewe at home.

MK Dons final 9 games

Stevenage (H) 16/03/2019

Yeovil Town (H) 23/03/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 30/03/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 13/04/2019

Notts County (A) 19/04/2019

Port Vale (H) 22/04/2019

Colchester United (A) 27/04/2019

Mansfield Town (H) 04/05/2019

The Dons have possibly one of the hardest runs of games to play out of the promotion-chasing teams facing 4 out of the top 7 and facing 3 teams who will be fighting for the survival in the Football League. After the Stevenage game this weekend every team MK play will be fighting for something arguably increasing the stakes in each of these games.

5.Tranmere Rovers

Newly promoted Tranmere Rovers are this year’s League Two surprise package with the Super White Army pushing for back to back promotions for the first time in there History. Under the guidance of experienced manager Micky Mellon, the Birkenhead based side have eased back into Football League life after a three year absence and are looking to make a return to League One football for the first time since 2014.

Tranmere Rovers recent form – WWWWW

Tranmere currently sits top of the charts for form with the Rovers picking up 19 points from there last 8 games. Tranmere also have a watertight defence with the Rovers only conceding 2 goals in there last 6 games.

Tranmere Rovers last 9 games

Oldham Athletic (A) 16/03/2019

Colchester United (A) 23/03/2019

Carlisle United (H) 30/03/2019

Newport County (A) 06/04/2019

MK Dons (H) 13/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (H) 19/04/2019

Lincoln City (A) 22/04/2019

Bury (H) 27/04/2019

Crawley Town (A) 04/05/2019

Talk about tough luck. Tranmere have to face 6 out of the top 7 teams in the division at the time of writing and face 4 out them in a row however with three of these being at home it could be a blessing in disguise to take points off the teams around them rather than rely on other results.

6.Forest Green Rovers

6th placed Forest Green Rovers are battling for a playoff spot and promotion to League One for the first time in their history. The Greenest team in the World currently are having their best season ever in the Football League and will hope it can continue.

Forest Green Rovers recent form – WLLLW

The Green Devils are currently in a sticky patch of form with Forest Green currently sat 22nd in the form table with the Gloucestershire based side picking up 7 points in there last 8 games. Forest Green have had indifferent results over the past few weeks with the Green Devils losing (3-0) to lowly placed Morecambe before beating playoff-chasing Colchester (3-0).

Forest Green Rovers last 9 games

Carlisle United (H) 16/03/2019

Port Vale (A) 23/03/2019

MK Dons (H) 30/03/2019

Crawley Town (A) 06/04/2019

Macclesfield (H) 13/04/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 19/04/2019

Cambridge United (H) 22/04/2019

Crewe Alexandra (A) 27/04/2019

Exeter City (H) 04/05/2019

Forest Green have a mixed run of games concluding the season with 4 games against teams in the top 10 with the other 5 games against teams in the mid to lower echelons of the table. If Forest Green can find there earlier season form that propelled them to their current position then the Green Devils could be playing League One football next season.

7.Colchester United

Occupying the final playoff spot at the time of writing are Colchester United. The U’s will be hoping that the third time’s the charm with the Essex based side narrowly missing out of the playoffs in the past two seasons.

Colchester United’s recent form – DDLWL

Colchester just like Forest Green Rovers have suffered in a did in form as the Essex based side have only managed 3 wins in there last 8 games. In Colchester’s last three games the U’s have scored 3 and conceded 6 goals with too heavy (3-0) defeats to playoff rivals Forest Green and mid tabled Swindon. Colchester’s home form has also seen a dip with the U’s only picking up 9 points in there last 8 home games at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Colchester United’s last 9 games

Exeter City (A) 16/03/2019

Tranmere Rovers (H) 23/03/2019

Cambridge United (A) 30/03/2019

Oldham Athletic (H) 06/04/2019

Bury (A) 12/04/2019

Grimsby Town (H) 19/04/2019

Yeovil Town (A) 22/04/2019

MK Dons (H) 27/04/2019

Lincoln City (A) 04/05/2019

Colchester have a mixed run in however face top 10 teams in spells of two bar the away match Vs Bury of the 12th of April. With a tough final three games, it could be another year that the U’s miss out of the playoffs.

8. Carlisle United

The first team on this list sat out of the Playoffs Carlisle are hoping they can sneak a playoff place and make it back to League One for the first time since 2014. Carlisle will also be looking to make it one step further than 2016/17 season where the Cumbria based side lost in the Playoff semi-final.

Carlisle United recent form – LDLWL

Carlisle have suffered a recent dip in form that has seen the side slip out of the playoffs with the Cumbrians only picking up 8 points in there last game ranking them 21st in the League 2 form table. However, Carlisle Home form over the past 8 games has been stupendous with the Cumbrians picking up 16 points in there last 8 home games.

Carlisle United last 9 games

Forest Green Rovers (A) 16/03/2019

Cambridge United (H) 23/03/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 30/03/2019

Bury (H) 06/04/2019

Stevenage (A) 13/04/2019

Lincoln City (H) 19/04/2019

Grimsby Town (A) 22/04/2019

Crawley Town (H) 27/04/2019

Yeovil Town (A) 04/05/2019

Carlisle have to play 4 out of the top 7 clubs including first and second placed Lincoln and Bury however with both at home the Cumbrians will be hoping to gain positive results from both. Carlisle also appear to have an easy three final games to finish the season. However, a long away trip to Yeovil could be a tough trip especially depending on Yeovil’s predicament.

9. Exeter City

The team currently occupying 9th is Exeter City. Exeter still have a great chance of making the playoffs with the Grecians currently sitting 2 points of the playoffs and unlike the 8 teams above them, Exeter have 10 games left to play rather than 9. Exeter will be hoping to go one better than last year as the Grecians lost in the Playoff final to Coventry City.

Exeter City recent form – LWDLL

Exeter city have had a recent dip in form with the Grecians failing to pick up a win in there last three games. Furthermore, Exeter have only picked up 5 points out of there last 6 league games. The Grecians have also failed to keep a clean sheet in there last 6 games.

Exeter City’s last 10 games

Colchester (H) 16/03/2019

Notts County (A) 23/03/2019

Mansfield Town (H) 30/03/2019

Cheltenham Town (A) 06/04/2019

Port Vale (H) 13/04/2019

Crawley Town (H) 19/04/2019

Stevenage (A) 22/04/2019

Oldham Athletic (H) 27/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 04/05/2019

*Macclesfield (A) The game has yet to be rearranged.

Arguably Exeter City have one of the easiest final run-ins on paper out of the Playoff chasing teams with the Grecians only facing 3 top 7 teams and have a 5 game run in of playing mid-table sides so could easily pick up points and close the two-point gap.

Who Do you think will get promoted from League 2?

Written By Tom Langford

Twitter @tom_langford27