Joe plans attacking line-up

Reporter: Latics latest by TONY BUGBY
Date published: 20 March 2009

ATHLETIC will hand debuts to on-loan pair Shane Supple and Ian Westlake in tomorrow’s Coca-Cola League One fixture against Tranmere Rovers at Boundary Park.

But the real intrigue is what formation new manager Joe Royle will employ in his first match as he tries to revive Athletic’s play-off prospects.

Royle has hinted it will be an attack-minded team and there is a possibility that it might be an adventurous 4-3-3 line-up with Chris Taylor featuring in a more advanced role.

“Let’s wait and see, but I have a number of forward options open with Lee Hughes, Steven Kabba and Lewis Alessandra, plus it is nice to have Matty Wolfenden back after injury,” explained Royle.

Taylor returned to training yesterday after recovering from a kick to his calf which forced him off at half time in last Saturday’s 6-2 defeat at MK Dons.

Royle confirmed Stefan Stam will return in the centre of defence as Reuben Hazell completes a two-match ban while Seb Hines has gone back to Middlesbrough after his loan.

The Athletic manager has asked Scott Golbourne and Fabio Ferreira to extend their loan spells, which end tomorrow, after both have impressed him in training

Golbourne, who has spent two months at Boundary Park on loan from Reading, will make a decision over the weekend while Ferreira, who has been borrowed from Chelsea, is keen to stay.

The feel-good factor at Boundary Park is such that Athletic have banked £10,000 this week from new hospitality and advertising packages which have been sold.

Athletic have sold almost all their main stand seats for tomorrow’s game, but there is still plenty of room behind both goals by payment at the turnstiles.

Fans intending to use the Oldham Way by-pass are being advised to leave early as delays are envisaged due to continuing resurfacing work.