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From tonight's rarely wrong Chron:


Latics’ record is on the line

Reporter: Michael Yarwood

Date online: 24/10/2008


JOHN SHERIDAN will be out to defend a proud record tomorrow when Athletic take on struggling Swindon Town.


Sheridan’s side were beaten 2-0 at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday, but they have not lost back-to-back league games since September of last year.


Although the Bristol defeat pushed them down to fifth in the table, Athletic are set to name a mostly unchanged team.


Sheridan said: “I’m probably the worst at the club when it comes to losing, but I’m still happy with the way things are going.


“We are playing some great football, so now we have to be stronger mentally, especially away from home, and work harder at stopping people scoring.


“You think about making drastic changes – and I’m not under-estimating Swindon because they are in a false position – but I’m comfortable with the way we played on Tuesday.


“I’m disappointed with some of our results. It’s a concern that we’ve only taken six points from the last 18, but I’d be more worried if we were playing poorly.


“At the end of the day we are still fifth, we are four points off the top two, and we have usually bounced back after losing.


“We are creating chances in every game, although the strikers are worrying me – apart from Lee Hughes, I wonder where the goals are coming from.


“That’s why I’ve been swapping things around up front, but I know they can all do the job.


“I’ve rotated my team a bit recently and it hasn’t worked. There won’t be many changes at Swindon, but we do need to start winning again.”


Andy Liddell comes back into the frame after being rested at Bristol Rovers, but Deane Smalley, who stepped in for his first league start of the campaign, earned praise for his performance on the right.


Sheridan went on: “Andy Liddell is one of our fittest players, but at his age (35) I need to look after him a bit.


“Deane was very good, he worked hard and kept the ball when he had to – he was the best player on the pitch.


“Deane has had a lot of frustration this season because he hasn’t played much football, so I put him in and gave him a chance.


“He didn’t let himself down at all, so that’s one of the areas where I’ve got a few things to consider.”


On-loan Brett Ormerod is favourite to partner Hughes up front, while defender Neal Eardley could earn a recall.


ATHLETIC (from): Crossley, Lomax, Hazell, Gregan, Jones, Smalley, Allott, Whitaker, Taylor, Ormerod, Hughes, Davies, Alessandra, Maher, Eardley, Liddell, Fleming.


SWINDON (from): Brezovan, J Smith, Morrison, Aljofree, Timlin, McGovern, Peacock, Pook, McNamee, Cox, Paynter, Amankwaah, Casal, Nalis, Easton, Corr, P Smith.

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Also from tonight's chron:


Watch us get back on track

Reporter: Michael Yarwood

Date online: 24/10/2008


CHRIS TAYLOR has admitted Athletic’s confidence could be damaged by their midweek defeat at Bristol Rovers.


But the winger is still looking ahead to his side’s next test – a return to the West Country at Swindon Town tomorrow – full of conviction that three points are within reach.


The last month has seen Athletic drop from top spot to fifth in League One, whereas Swindon have just received a boost: Tuesday night’s win against Northampton was their first in eight attempts.


One glance at the table, however, suggests Taylor’s belief in his team-mates is far from misplaced.


He said: “We need to regroup after a disappointing result, and now it’s even more important that we go to Swindon and win.


“The Bristol Rovers game might have an effect on the lads because confidence is always dented when you lose, but it’s not as though we played badly.


“We’ve only got one win from our last six, which is a disappointment, but there have been some difficult games during that run.


“Bristol Rovers was one of them – they will cause problems to a lot of teams – but everyone will be ready for when we play Swindon.


“Picking ourselves up isn’t a problem. The manager always helps us to do that when we’ve had a result we didn’t want.


“He’ll have us ready and prepared for Swindon and he’ll pick a team which will hopefully get us all three points.


“Obviously there are things to put right from the Bristol Rovers defeat, but it was a strange one because we’ve won games in the past by playing quite a lot worse.


“Their two goals were down to a lack of concentration, but our performance going forward was pleasing – we created numerous chances, especially in the second half, and the ball just wouldn’t go in.”


Like Bristol Rovers, Swindon caused Athletic all manner of trouble last season as they drew 2-2 at Boundary Park before winning 3-0 at home.


They finished mid-table and were quietly confident of a play-off bid this term, but Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Northampton was only their third in 12 games.


It also provided much-needed relief at the County Ground, where a torrid run of defeats meant the natives were getting restless.


Swindon had lost five straight home games, against Colchester, Leeds, Millwall and Huddersfield (all league) and QPR (Carling Cup), shipping 14 goals.


Boss Maurice Malpas, the former Scotland international, has made few changes to his squad, leaving Simon Cox and Billy Paynter to carry most of the goalscoring burden.


The ever-dangerous Cox has already struck 11 times in league and cup, while ex-Port Vale man Paynter is on five.


Swindon have a backbone of experience as Lee Peacock operates in midfield and Hasney Aljofree, who spent a month on loan at Boundary Park two seasons ago, marshalls their back four.


Athletic must also watch out for left-sided speed merchant Yinka Casal – a top schoolboy athlete whose old 100m relay team hold the British under-13s record.

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