Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Steve Harris previews the opening game of the season
TORQUAY UNITED vs OLDHAM ATHLETIC
Venue: Plainmoor, Torquay
Date: Saturday 6th August 2022
HEAD TO HEAD
OLDHAM ATHLETIC FACTFILE
Year founded: 1866
Nickname: The Latics
Last season’s league finish: 23rd in League Two
Division Two/Division One/Championship:
Division Three/Division Two/League One:
Division Three North:
Semi-finalists: 1912-13, 1989-90, 1993-94
MANAGER: JOHN SHERIDAN
John Sheridan enjoyed a successful career as a player, which included spells with Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton Wanderers. Arguably the highlight of his playing days was when he scored the winning goal in the 1991 Rumbelows Cup final for Wednesday against Manchester United. He also won 34 caps and scored five goals for the Republic of Ireland – and was selected by Jack Charlton for Euro 88, Italia 90, and USA 94. In the 1994 World Cup in the USA, Sheridan was part of the Ireland side that defeated Italy 1-0 in their opening game of the tournament – and he famously hit the bar during the second half of that match.
His managerial started with Oldham Athletic in 2006, following two spells as caretaker manager, in what was the first of three spells in charge of the Latics. His first stint with Chesterfield began in 2009, which saw him lead the Spireites to the League Two title in the 2010-11 season. The following campaign – 2011-12 – saw him guide Chesterfield to EFL Trophy success as they beat Swindon Town in the final at Wembley.
However, after a poor start to the 2012-13 season, Sheridan was dismissed by the Spireites; he would later take charge of Plymouth Argyle in January 2013 and helped the Pilgrims to avoid being relegated to League Two by the end of the campaign. Sheridan remained at Home Park for another two years, as guided the Pilgrims to the League Two play-offs in the 2014-15 season. He then went on to manage Newport County, Oldham (twice), Notts County, Fleetwood Town, Carlisle United, Chesterfield (again), Waterford United in the Republic of Ireland, Wigan Athletic and Swindon Town before returning to manage the Latics once again midway through the 2021-22 season.
PLAYER TO WATCH: HALLAM HOPE
Hallam Hope joined Latics in June 2021 before penning a new contract ahead of the current season.
Born in Manchester, Hope began his career on the blue half of Merseyside as he progressed through the academy at Goodison Park. Whilst at Everton, he enjoyed loan spells with Northampton Town, Bury and Sheffield Wednesday.
Hope scored five goals in eight games for the Shakers, and he attracted attention from teams higher up the football pyramid.
The 27-year-old put pen-to-paper on a permanent deal with Bury in January 2015 for an undisclosed fee. During his time at Gigg Lane, Hope helped guide the club to promotion from Sky Bet League Two and throughout his three-year spell made 71 appearances.
Hope later joined Carlisle United – initially on loan before agreeing a permanent deal. Whilst at Brunton Park, he managed to net 31 goals and finished as the club’s top goal scorer in the 2017-18 season.
Hope has represented England at U16, U17, U18 and U19 level before proudly being called-up to the Barbados senior squad, who he’s scored four goals in six games for.
Date of Birth: 17th March, 1994 – 28 Yeats Old
International: Barbados (9 Caps/4 Goals)
Former Clubs: Everton, Northampton, Bury, Carlisle, Swindon.
League two Stats 21-22: Played 39, Goals 5, Yellows/Reds 5/0
PREVIOUS HEAD TO HEAD
OLDHAM ATHLETIC 1-2 TORQUAY UNITED
April 23rd, 2005
The Gulls showed real bouncebackability after coming from behind to beat Oldham Athletic in their relegation ‘six-pointer’ at Boundary Park.
The Latics went in front after 25 minutes against the run of play when skipper Dean Holden’s cross found veteran winger David Eyres, who showed a nice turn of speed before hammering home his seventh goal of the season.
However, it was to be Oldham’s only shot on target in the whole 90 minutes – as Torquay bounced back to equalise four minutes before the break.
Kevin Hill slipped a neat pass to Matt Hockley, and he clipped the ball past the advancing keeper Les Pogliacomi to score his first goal of the season. Holden had made a despairing lunge on the line to try to clear but the ball hit a post before hitting the back of the net.
There was no way back for the Latics after Torquay went in front in the 49th minute.
A free-kick from Steve Woods picked out Hill, who – in turn – headed the ball into the path of Gulls’ top scorer Adebayo Akinfenwa, who fired home to score his 15th of the campaign.
Leon Constantine later hit the woodwork and Buster Phillips teed up Alex Russell for a shot that went narrowly wide, as United completed their third successive win and their second ‘double’ of 2004-05.
Torquay United (3-5-2):
Ross Marshall – Ali Omar – Dean Moxey
Dylan Crowe – Brett McGavin – Tom Lapslie – Shaun Donnellan – Ben Wyatt
Corie Andrews – Will Goodwin
Jordan Clarke – Liam Hogan – Harrison McGahey – Zaine Francis-Angol
Nathan Sheron – Dan Gardner –
Jack Stobbs – Ben Tollitt – Hallam Hope