Latics boss 'going back to basics' ahead of back-to-back away games
Reporter: Simon Smedley
Date published: 08 January 2020
There has been plenty of soul-searching going on in the Latics camp over the past week or so as manager Dino Maamria seeks to find answers to the club's recent alarming dip in form in League Two.
Prospects were seemingly improving after the Boxing Day 2-1 win at Morecambe - Latics' second straight victory.
However, amid continuing off-the-field tribulations and fan discontent on social media, Latics have lost their three games since convincingly, at home against Salford and Scunthorpe, then 3-0 away at Cheltenham last weekend.
Now, ahead of massive back-to-back away trips to fellow strugglers Macclesfield and Stevenage over the next six days, boss Maamria is going back to basics.
He said, "We've not been loving it during those last three games, we've not been enjoying it, but that's football, you all have your ups and downs.
"We'd been going reasonably well and then all this happened in one week.
"To be honest I was always concerned this might happen with the squad we've got.
"Missing key players has been the biggest part.
"We seem to have to have lost everything a little bit, we lost that resilience and that hard-to-beat mentality.
"We've had to go back to basics this week.
"We've been looking at doing things well again, getting back to being hard to beat, and having more confidence on the ball.
"I've looked at where we've been falling short over these last three games and I've had honest discussions with the players and looked them in the eye.
"I know how to fix it - it just about putting those things into practise now.
"The month of January can always be destructive I feel.
"There's rumours flying about and there's always that uncertainty.
"I know what I'm taking on now, though. I need to be surrounded by characters and players who know this level and how to win League Two games.
"I need to build a solid spine to the team as we have been a bit light there, but I also need to keep all the players fully focused on these next two very important games."
Saturday's opponents Macclesfield have had numerous well-documented off-field issues to contend with this season, and manager departures.
However, though they are still below Latics in the table, they have drawn at Port Vale and beaten Cambridge in their last two matches.
"I really admire the Macclesfield players," added Maamria.
"Despite all the adversity they've had going on in the background, the players have been focused on their jobs and they've been playing for their lives, literally.
"They are much better than their league position suggests.
"They know how to win, they've got a great work rate and I've not been surprised at all by their last two results."
Latics are currently in 20th place in the table.
They should have new loan captures Carl Piergianni (from Salford) and Christian N'Guessan (from Burnley) in the squad for the trip to Moss Rose.
More transfer incomings and outgoings are expected at Boundary Park, possibly even before the weekend.
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