'A bit dismissive of us' - Latics boss Curle 'disappointed' with Cook

Oldham Athletic manager Keith Curle during the Sky Bet League Two match at Boundary Park, Oldham.

Boss Keith Curle brings his stuggling Oldham Athletic side to Portman Road for an FA Cup clash this weekend - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town host League Two Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup this weekend. Mark Heath profiles the Latics...

Interior general view of the stadium prior to the Sky Bet League Two match at Boundary Park, Oldham.

Oldham's famous old Boundary Park has not been a happy place for a while - Credit: PA

Story so far

Oldham Athletic, one of the founding members of the Premier League back in 1992/93 - along with Ipswich Town, of course - have since slipped through the divisions and now find themselves looking up at almost all of the rest of the Football League.

They currently sit 22nd in League Two, with just Carlisle United and Scunthorpe United beneath them.

As you might guess from their position, this season has been a struggle so far. They've won just three of their opening 15 league games, and already have a goal difference of minus 11.

Goals have been a real issue for the Latics to this point - they've only scored 11 in the league all season, joint worst in the division.

Fans are not happy either, with protests planned for each of the next two Saturday home games in a bid to try and put pressure on unpopular owner Abdallah Lemsagam to sell the club.

There are already a number of fans boycotting games but, for the second protest, planned for December 11 against Forest Green, supporters are being asked to either stay away or join a mass walk-out after 10 minutes.

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It is then, a very unhappy club which arrives at Portman Road.

Oldham Athletic supporters in the stand protest against owner Abdallah Lemsagam during the Carabao C

Oldham fans protest against owner Abdallah Lensagam earlier this season - Credit: PA

Injuries and sickness

As if things weren't bad enough at Boundary Park, boss Keith Curle has also had serious selection issues - for their last league game, a 3-1 defeat at Swindon Town, the Latics were missing ten first team players for a variety of reasons.

Many are injured, but forward Zak Dearnley and winger Jack Stobbs both missed out with sickness - and then Jamie Bowden also had to be substituted in the second half after vomiting.

Curle said he hopes to have that trio back to face Town this weekend.

"I’m hoping the lads who were ill might be available," he explained. "We’re probably a week or so away (for anyone else).

“We’re being battered at the minute with everything. But we’re trying to put as many things in place as we can, looking after the players, making sure they’re nutrition and diet and rehydration (is right).

“We’re making sure everything is covered. We just need to get the injured players back.

“It seems like they’re all three or four weeks away. We’re trying to get people back on the grass as fast as we can.”

Oldham Athletic manager Keith Curle on the touchline during the Carabao Cup third round match at Bre

Keith Curle has been Oldham boss since March - Credit: PA

The boss

The aforementioned Mr Curle needs no introduction to football fans. He enjoyed a long and distinguished playing career at the highest level, most notably captaining Manchester City in the Premier League and playing for England in Euro '92.

He retired in 2005, having been serving as player/manager at Mansfield for three years. 

He's managed at a range of lower league clubs since - Chester, Torquay, Notts County, Carlisle United and Northampton.

He took over at Oldham in March this year, after high-profile boss Harry Kewell was sacked.

Paul Cook looks on from the technical area before kick off

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook has upset his Oldham counterpart Keith Curle with his comments about the FA Cup - Credit: Ray Lawrence

I'm not angry, just disappointed

Curle knows Town boss Paul Cook well - and he's not happy with him ahead of today's meeting.

When asked about the FA Cup draw, Cook said that - while he was looking forward to the Oldham clash - he'd love to face Norwich City at home in the Third Round.

But Curle responded: "I'm slightly disappointed with their manager Cooky, who I know quite well, talking about who he wants in the third round.

“I'm thinking that's probably a bit dismissive of us. But that’s part of my motivational speech to the players before the game.

“I know Cooky and I understand what he’s saying.

"There are some big clubs in that division. I think Ipswich will need a cup run or a couple of cup results.

"Cooky wants that game against a Norwich to ignite their season as well, to create an interest. If you have a look at Ipswich with their history and their heritage there's no way they should be where they are.”

He added: “We'll have to be on our mettle that day and we need the luck that the FA Cup can bring you but you've got to be ready to be lucky as well.

"The FA Cup throws up some unbelievable results. That’s the beauty of the FA Cup, there are no guarantees.

“A lot of their players will look at Oldham, the situation we’re in in the league and they’ll have heard all about things that have been going on at the football club (protests), but we’ll be organised, we’ll have a game plan and we’ll execute it.”

The Portman Road scoreboard says it all; Ipswich Town 4 Oldham Athletic 0, from April 5, 1997

The Portman Road scoreboard says it all; Ipswich Town 4 Oldham Athletic 0, from April 5, 1997 - Credit: Archant

Last time

Incredibly, this is the first time the clubs have met since April 5, 1997.

Tow ran riot at Portman Road that day, winning 4-0, with Jamie Scowcroft, Geraint Williams, Mick Stockwell and Neil Gregory all on target to kick-start a winning run that extended to five matches.

Town would surely take a repeat of that scoreline this weekend.


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