Latics head to Stevenage

Reporter: Simon Smedley
Date published: 14 January 2020

Latics manager Dino Maamria remains firmly focused on gaining three vital League Two points at Stevenage tonight (Tuesday), as a return to a club which still holds a 'special' place in his heart beckons.

After Saturday's controversial 1-1 draw at Macclesfield, Latics remain nine points ahead of rock-bottom Stevenage, but a victory is still clearly the main priority as Maamria's current team continue to try and shake off a disappointing run of results over the New Year period.

Maamria began this season as Stevenage boss before being sacked on September 9 last year. He took over at Boundary Park 10 days later.

He said: "It will be a special occasion for me. I'm not going to sit here and say it's just like any other game, because it's not.

"I spent 15 or 16 years at that club as a player, coach, manager. I've done every job going there, so it is special.

"My family are still there, so are a lot of the players I signed, and I have got a good relationship with everyone down there.

"I'm really looking forward to it, but also it would be fantastic for us to go down there and get three points.

"We definitely need them, especially against teams who are struggling below us.

"We need to make sure we keep daylight between us and them.

"At Macclesfield I saw a massive improvement on the previous three performances, where we had to fight for first and second balls particularly.

"We created more, and pressed more, especially in the second half.

"The only criticism I'd have is that we need to take more of the chances we create, so hopefully we can start rectifying that at Stevenage."

Although not helped by having a midweek fixture this week, Maamria is still busily scouring the transfer market behind the scenes as he continues to try and re-shape his Latics squad.

"My phone is always on," added Maamria.

"I've been in touch with a few people, but saying that, I'm not just going to sign players for the sake of it.

"We are still a work in progress, and a squad that needs change, I said that right from the start.

"We have gone through a difficult period these last four matches, but I'm still convinced that when we get our 'A' team out there, we will be capable of beating anyone in this division.

"It's been difficult from day one when I came here and I am trying to change the whole culture here.

"It will take two or three windows to do that, and in the meantime I'll keep trying to get the right type of players into this club."

Chris McCann and Johan Branger-Engone are the only definite injury absentees ahead of the trip to Stevenage.

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