Sunday, August 29, 2010

SUNDAY .....

Both selections won yesterday and that puts us in front for the week, actually I think that the blog has shown a profit every week since early June, but I stand to be corrected on that and am sure that someone will !

Not tempting fate by saying that, as I am not posting any previews on here today, I am very interested in one EPL game, but will keep that to myself.

As a kind of follow up to my recent post where I covered a couple of regularly asked questions by readers, I often get a request for complete results for the blog with ROI and such like. Well, I do not keep those stats . The reason being that they have no meaning to me, they are only a fraction of my betting portfolio and it is not like I am trying to sell anything through the blog, I don't really carry links on the site, or advertise it or any product in any way.

If anyone has any business proposals to make to me ( which is how these conversations normally start), they can surely find out what they need to know by reading a few of the 3500 + posts, where it must surely be clear that I have learnt something over the last couple of decades . Even when I explain this to readers, they often then ask for my personal stats, which I find amazing, as they could just be pulled out of thin air and how would anyone ever know ? On the odd occasion that I have complied with this request, they then usually query them by return !

Looking back at yesterday's football, I made some notes pre season ( some of you were sent those) about how difficult it would be for Tottenham to compete in a first ever Champions League camapign and also stay competitive in the EPL. We have seen this before, recent examples that spring to mind are Atletico Madrid last season who laboured into 9th spot in La Liga and who are a club similar in many ways to the North London side and Real Sociedad, who probably regret their CL year of 2003-4, a season they never really recovered from. Of course, I am not saying that I fancied Wigan to win yesterday, but I would not be rushing to take Spurs giving up circa two goals to any EPL side this season, let alone straight after a very emotional and vital CL tie a few days earlier.

Elsewhere, Blackpool are going to be fun to watch again this season, their 4-3-3 formation at home to Fulham was brave after the thumping at the Emirates and they are likely to be equally as gung ho for their next two, which are Newcastle and Chelsea, both on the road ! Some unacceptable things have gone on off the pitch at Bloomfield Road, but all credit to the supporters, players and coaching staff who are a breath of fresh air in the EPL.

As for my beloved Bees, I am sulking and do not wish to discuss them this weekend ! But we finally got a decent cup draw, Everton beware !

Good Luck.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I am hoping to bounce back today after the terribly bad luck we had with the York City bet in midweek, which I promise to never mention again !!!

Just basic notes about a couple of games and I might put up one more later in the day, but want to try and get to see a game this afternoon, so am unsure about precise plans at the moment.



Swans have not really had the reward their very attractive passing game has deserved yet this season. They have a terrible opening day record anyway, but it was never going to be their day at Hull, when Rangel was injured in the pre match warm up , meaning they had to change everything around very late and then hit the woodwork immediately before conceding. In their other road start at Norwich, they completely dominated the game, pinning the home side deep in their own half for almost an hour and then with time running ou, missed a penalty, before conceding an own goal ! Norwich boss Paul Lambert described the Swans as a "top,top side" and easily the best they have met so far. Few teams will go to Carrow Road and enjoy over 60% possession. At the Liberty Stadium they are much more effective, losing just six of their last 49 starts and destroying Preston 4-0 here a fortnight ago. Scott Sinclair a talented youngster whom Brendan Rodgers knows from his time under Jose Mourinho, has been added to the squad , he looks too good for the Championship and gives them an increased cutting edge.

Burnley have made a good start on their return to the Championship, but have yet to prove much away from Turf Moor. In their only road start at Ipswich they needed a 92nd minute goal to earn a point and were happy to sit back and let the Suffolk side have possession. Those tactics will suit Swansea perfectly, they are the best passing team outside the EPL and seem sure to get plenty of chances, with the visitors without an away clean sheet in 17 months !

Swansea -0.25 2.01

Division 1

Leyton Orient-Exeter City

Orient should strip much the fitter of these two and have firmly targetted this as a must win game, after resting several players for their home Carling Cup game with EPL side WBA in midweek. Hosts have yet to fully fire, but were free scoring in pre season and signs are there that Russell Slade's team are about to come good. There was plenty to like about their point away to Southampton last week and they can build on that against a City side that were devastated by the death of Adam Stansfield and who will be without three of their four starting defenders today, with huge problems in the centre of defence, leaving them with very few options. It is not as though they have been tight at the back in any case with two + conceded in all three starts so far. At the other end of the pitch they have managed just four attempts on target in two league outings, they have scored all four (!) but that strike rate cannot continue indefiniely. City will come and try to play football regardless of their problems and that will suit Orient.

Orient -0.25 1.85 +

Good Luck.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WEDNESDAY ............

Yesterday was a poor day for me, I had several bets all at quotes way above those available at kick off, infact, I could have closed all of them out for a profit at that stage, without a ball being kicked. Winners were hard to come by and reports read much as the York-Barrow game, where City had chance after chance, 23 attempts on goal, 16 of which were on target, 9 corners and dominated possession ! On 8 days from 10 they would probably win this game by three goals, but that is football and it is hard to complain about luck when things have been going so well, but I will anyway !

On a brighter note Brentford found a late winner to defeat Hull City 2-1 in the Carling Cup at Griffin Park, the visitors were an EPL side last season and I prefer to think it is a sign of how far the Bees have come in the last two years, rather than the Tigers have fallen, that this is not really considered much of a shock. The home side pretty much dominated proceedings and were worthy of a bigger margin of victory, as pointed out ahead of the Swindon game, someone is going to get a thumping soon.

Back later.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CONFERENCE .............


City are another side who narrowly mised out on a place in the Football League, losing in the playoff final to Oxford United, I was at that game and whilst United were worthy winners after racing into a two goal lead, all credit to York for keeping going and making a game of it. I was very impressed with front man Richard Brodie, who was named Conference POTY and not just for his goals, but his all round play and I am stunned that no one has yet come in for the 23 yo. It is very rare to find a striker his size, with pace , work rate and an eye for goal and surely he will find his way into the FL sooner rather than later. He is not the only goalscorer on their books with Gash and Rankine also being fairly prolific in their own right. Boss Martin Foyle has found a way to accomodate all of them atm, by switching to a 4-3-3 formation in the last two and a bit games, this allied to the signing of Peter Till from Walsall, who is an old fashioned and talented winger, means that they are creating chances for fun. It earned them points in two tricky away starts last week and now they are ready for a win in front of their own fans.
Barrow is so remote that even their own players are travelling fairly long distances for home games and at various times in the recent past they have trained during the week in either Preston or Manchester, circa 150km away ! So this cluster of games is far from ideal for them. The two teams met at the tail end of last season with City running out comfortable winners, hosts look stronger if anything atm and Barrow weaker having lost Andy Bond and Stuart Tomlinson to league clubs in the summer.

I have just watched highlights of the last two meetings here, Barrow had terrible problems with the pace of the York front men, especially out wide and Brodie had the freedom of the park , he scored three times over the two games and that number could have been doubled.Two teams with very different objectives for the season and time for City to start taking all these chances and a comfortable win looks on the cards.

York -0.75 ball 1.90 +

Good Luck.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

SUNDAY MORNING .............

Shrewsbury had the lead for all of two minutes yesterday, but a draw was a fair result, Aldershot worked out quite quickly how to stifle the wide threat from the home side, who in turn, changed things around to combat the visitors midfield dominance. Early days yet, but both look playoff "fringes".

Brentford were again a little wasteful in front of goal and had enough chances to have sewn this one up early. The Bees remain a work in progress, but are heading in the right direction and will give someone a bit of a thumping soon. Division 1 looks very open this season, Southampton were expected to run away with the division, that seems unlikely, but they will come good and I expect them to be playing Championship football next season, everything else looks up for grabs. One for the diary....... Brentford's very attractive looking home game with Sheffield Wednesday is being televised live by Sky on September 5th. My beloved team are notoriously bad in front of the cameras, but the Owls have a similar record, so a chance for one of them to finally impress on television.

Chelsea looked a little off the pace in the Community Shield game, yet have scored 12 unanswered goals in two EPL starts, suspect that says a little more about their opponents than it does the Blues, but both they and Manchester United are clearly not prepared to give up their title dominance just yet. Hard to believe that Didier Drogba (and Lampard for that matter) didn't get on the scoresheet yesterday, but team spirit seems very high and DD set Salomon Kalou up for a goal at 3-0, when you would have expected him to shoot. Drogba was genuinely delighted for his Ivory Coast team mate,who also added the 5th goal and seems in a " good place" at the moment. Kalou has found life tough in the EPL (see photo !) and many of his goals for the club have come in big wins like yesterday against the weaker teams, hopefully he can build on this good start and contribute some more "important" goals this season.

Even at this early stage United will be looking to stay in touch and collect three points at Fulham today, a venue where they have lost on their last two visits. Although to be fair, in the heavy 3-0 defeat last season their injury hit backline included Carrick and Fletcher ! Hard not to see a little revenge in the air and this could be fun to watch.

All eyes will be on Roberto Mancini tomorrow and his team selection for the home game with Liverpool. He played what was effectively three (Toure, Barry and de Jong) holding midfielders at Tottenham last week and he has 8-9 of them (!) at the club to keep happy, but will surely be more expansive at Eastlands.......... I certainly hope so. There remains a lot to sort out in the blue half of Manchester, at WHL Tevez who was playing as the sole striker was also dropping very deep at times and with neither of the "attacking" midfielders exactly busting a gut to replace him up front, this meant City created little. Anyway, really interesting game in prospect for our monday football fix.
Not posting any previews on the blog today, please check back later in the week and good luck with all your bets today.

Saturday, August 21, 2010



Hosts were expected to have something of a season of transistion, but vastly experienced boss Graham Turner has once again done some amazing dealing in the transfer market and Shrewsbury look good enough to once more challenge for a top 7 place. Confidence is sky high after showing plenty of flair and pace in the easy win over pre season favourites Bradford in their opener and by winning a seven goal thriller against Charlton, they were behind in both of those (0-3 in the latter) by the way which also says much about their resolve. Like all Turner's teams they are comfortable on the ball and once they have the lead, are tough to come back against. They proved that last week, taking a third minute lead away to a talented Macclesfield side and then daring the Silkmen to breakdown their experienced, well organised and resolute defence. I really like what I have seen from them so far and players like dutch youngster Benjamin van den Broek, look way too good at times for the fouth tier.

Shots are another team still trying to shake off the disappointment of missing out in the playoffs last season and have yet to put in a real performance of note, despite having four points on board. How they managed to steal one off Accrington, when they were given the runaround for 90 minutes remains a bit of a mystery and they took 81 minutes of labour to find a winner against a Southend side who's problems have been well documented.They have had a huge turnover of staff in the summer, resulting in what looks to my eyes a slightly weaker squad, it can also be argued that they overachieved last season and this could be a less exciting camapign for Aldershot fans.

Shrewsbury -0.5 2.10 +

Good luck.



Swindon were always likely to suffer something of a hangover this season after coming so close to promotion last time round and boss Danny Wilson has not been helped by losing the cream of his squad in the summer.
After a promising first season in Division 1, where unlike most newcomers, they got stronger as the campaign progressed, Bees fans are also disappointed to have opened with two losses. However, they have strengthened the squad considerably in the off season and it was always going to take a little time for so many newcomers to gel and for Andy Scott to find his best combination. They were poor in an opening day loss at Carlisle, but despite losing 2-1 at home last week, the signs were there that things are coming together. Walsall scored with their only two real attempts on target, Brentford dominated almost the entire game and missed a host of chances. Scott now has some real options up front and with so many strikers at his disposal, it is unlikely that they will be as wasteful in the future. Confidence remains high at the club and a free week with no outside distractions has really helped the team as a unit, I understand that training has gone well this week and the squad got another boost when long term target Nicky Adams finally signed from Leicester City, Scott has chased him all summer long and this is the final piece in his jigsaw,at least for the time being.

These two met here just over three months ago, with Town winning 3-2, but that came at a time when the home side were still chasing an automatic spot and Brentford were tired after injuries left them with few options in the final month of the season and they were mentally already lying on a beach somewhere, with nothing to play for. Now the visitors are significantly stronger, with some six players who would have started last season "happy" to claim a place on the bench, Swindon are weaker and struggling to keep a cleansheet with five goals conceded in each of their last five starts and no longer have the same attacking threat to salvage a result. Expect the Bees to come good in the next week or two, hopefully starting today.

Brentford +0.5 ball 1.90 +

Good luck.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I have not seen it myself yet but am assured that Nicolas Fauvergue missed an absolute sitter from one metre out for Sedan last night, That would have been the icing on our Ligue 2 cake, as Angers ran out comfortable winners in the second game . Still, a nice profit on the evening and whilst you only have my word for it (you all know I am a truthful lad), both my other two selections won, so I remain in very solid form.

Quick word about Fauvergue, he could not help save Strasbourg from relegation last season, but to average a goal in every two games in Ligue 2 for a team that only won nine times, is a fantastic achievement and he will get a lot of chances to improve upon that for a very attack minded Sedan team.

Not 100% sure about my plans for the next couple of days , but it is unlikely that I will post any match previews on the blog today, so good luck with your bets and please check back later in the week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I got a lot of feedback to my last post, which is always pleasing and I thank you for that, but am still in the process of replying to some of you, so please bear with me.

Big day today where I have found four selections, including one double stake (maximum) bet. I have put brief notes about two of the smaller bets below, as explained on sunday, these comments have been edited and both have been backed, but there is not much else I can do.


I like goals here, two offensive minded teams for starters and Sedan, who opened with a 4-3 road loss at Tours, do not like to take a backwards step and will probably stick with two men up front in all games, home or away. Dijon have similar ideas about the game, only promoted Brest scored more last season and no side in the top 13 conceded more on home soil. H2h record bears these stats out, last 3 meetings have been "over" with both scoring in 5 of the last 6.

"over " 2 goals 1.82 asian line..... if this is not available to you the 2.25 line at circa 2.08 is accepable.


Hard to see as much excitement in this one, a meeting between two teams who are very difficult to breakdown. Hosts were effectively relegated from the top flight by Christmas, scoring just 7 times in their opening 19 matches, their games opened up after that with teams seeing a match with Grenoble as points up for grabs, or probably more likely as potentially points dropped to rivals and the goal count increased accordingly, but that style of football is basically alien to them and they like to keep things tight, happy to stick at 0-0 and if they steal a goal, like in the robbery over Le Havre in their opener, then fine. Reports have been poor and the home side could be in for another long season.

Angers had a terrific season last time round, tightening up in the second half and moving from 13th up to 5th, just missing a promotion spot by 5 points. They have opened with two 0-0 draws and a third is not difficult to see, I have to take them getting a start of any description and this handicap mark looks good.

Angers +0.25 2.17 .

Both are now trading shorter, but bigger may be available later, or early "in play".

Good Luck.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

SUNDAY .....

I have a little spare time this morning so plan on replying to a few points raised by readers in emails to me over the last month or so, this is normally about the blog, me personally, or my plans for the two of us. If anyone takes the trouble to write to me I always reply, usually within an hour or so, but some questions get asked on a regular basis, so time for a general update.

There is no longer a paid subscription service, I stopped that at the end of last year. That service made huge returns for subscribers who were prepared to take a long term approach to betting. It was not a get rich quick scheme, sports betting simply doesn't work that way.

The blog is similar, whilst previews are somewhat limited in number, it will make you a profit in the long term. I will hit the buffers now and again with a bad run, that is the nature of gambling and it is unavoidable, however, the blog has over a four and a half year period made very consistent returns and is, IMO, far and away the best of it's kind on the internet, but I am happy to be corrected on that.

This is a very tough business to beat, you have to work hard and continue to evolve, in addition to which bets are hard to place, almost impossible with the traditional bookmakers and whilst easier to play on asian markets, the odds makers there are light years ahead of their european counterparts, the exchanges simply do not have the liquidity on many games ....... as many people have said before, this is a hard way to make an easy living !

I have had to change my betting style again over the last twelve months, picking fewer games and doing even more homework than before. I am not going to go into too many details but there are no shortcuts, I almost never read any betting related content from other sources prefering to keep my mind free of outside influences and like to have a starting point from each of the leagues I follow closely. By which I mean having a very solid idea about exactly where one, or hopefully more teams are at the start of the season. This means that I do a lot of research on them, will see them play live once or twice and will probably have even been to a training session or two, it is amazing what you can learn from these. At lower levels there are few if any people watching and teams have nothing to hide.

I write notes every day about the teams/players I am interested in and these form the basis of what I post on the blog, though often I edit content, leaving out something I feel no one else knows (this is what I am. looking for, to know something before anybody else ) .It is hard to justify doing otherwise, when I have spent so much time, effort and often money compiling this information.

In an average week this probably leaves me with circa 12-15 matches worthy of betting, with possibly 4-6 of them proving difficult to get on. There are another 2-3 I do not want to write anything about at all for a whole vaiety of reasons and nearly all of the rest will have shortened, sometimes considerably, even if I am happy to then post them on the blog. Which is why we are down to maybe 2-4 match prevews on here per week, sometimes there will be more, but the average is likely to be around that number and you have to be aware that often the real value, those 6-9 "clicks" really add up and provide the jam for our bread and butter, will have gone. I want to be open and honest about all of this.

Having said all that, I have no plans to stop writing the blog, definitely going to hit the five year mark in the spring, which, with the average life of a blog being more like five weeks I take great pride in. Also closing in on a few other milestones...... would like to hit the 4,000 post mark and not far away from and closing in fast on 1,000,000 hits which would be sweet.......... I like symmetry in all things !

Back later.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


We came up short with the Tours bet yesterday which was something of a surprise to be honest, but I could not follow or watch the game, so have little to add to that.

I am not going to post anything on the blog today despite having four ideas, all are teams that I intend on following ( or opposing) to a certain degree through the early part of the season, so to preview any of them on an open forum makes little sense at this stage.

However, I have sent an email looking at a couple of these games to around 60 of you that have written to me in the past couple of months and it should already be in your inbox, if you fall into that category. If I have missed anyone out, you can drop me a line to before 12.30 uk time and I will forward a copy, but only to those of you that have contacted me previously and are therefore "known" to me, otherwise the whole exercise is pointless.

Pretty sure that I will be posting on here tomorrow, good luck with your bets today.

Friday, August 13, 2010

FRIDAY ..............


Sedan were the subject of very good pre season reports and it was something of a surprise to see Tours put four past them last week in a seven goal thriller, with new Ivory Coast striker Guie notching a hat-trick on his debut. Their squad looks much improved this season and definitely has goals in them, until the final weeks of last season by which time they had nothing to play for, only three clubs had scored more than Tours, so any improvement in that department is going to see them as real players this time round.

Istres are exactly the opposite, they were extremely lucky to survive last season, their defence was and continues to look porous, they were low scorers in Ligue 2, with the division's worst goal difference. Hard to see that those problems have been adressed, they have not scored in two league and cup starts, conceding four times and reports have not been good.

Tours won the reverse fixture 4-0 last year and despite losing here 2-1, that match came right at the end of the season when Tours were mentally lying on the beach and Istres fighting for their life. Visitors might well be the Ligue 2 surprise package this season, I suggest we keep on the right side of them for the time being and getting a handicap start, they have to be my choice tonight.

Tours +0.25 1.80 + bigger at IBC

Good Luck.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Mexico led for 80 minutes last night before David Silva found an equaliser deep in injury time to rob us of half our winnings. I was only able to watch about 75% of the game, so cannot really say too much, but on what I saw, the hosts were very unlucky not to earn a famous victory over the world champions.

However, we have kept the fantastic run going and I have some very strong ideas for the weekend ahead, with a potential three double stake selections, which is going to make for an exciting couple of days. After a summer where the asian markets have been difficult to play, at least from europe, with low limits almost across the board, it has been pleasing to see decent stakes available in the past week or so, at least on the day of the game and hopefully this will continue. It is hard enough to find winners without the constant worry about "getting on" too, which was the problem in the old days, when the traditional bookmakers were the only option.

I had half made up my mind to just concentrate on four divisions this season, two in the UK and two in mainland europe, where I knew limits would be good, as I simply do not want to pick in leagues where stakes are limited, but that would have meant not picking in leagues that are arguably my strongest, so a real dilemma, hopefully this is a decision I will not now have to make.

This weekend will tell us a little more and I have fingers crossed that messsrs Sbobet and IBC will be open for business on the Conference, where I have some incredible ideas this season. I have watched several of these teams in warm up games and even two in training sessions (sad I know) and feel I have a really good grasp on where most of these teams are and do not want all this work to go to waste.

As always I will try to post what I can on the blog, but as you know my general approach has changed with far fewer selections (the benefits of which are clear) and the situation has not been helped by the staking problems, I just wanted you to fully understand my dilemma.

No selections on here today, please check back later in the week and good luck !

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

" EL TRI" ...... THE NEXT GENERATION .........


Think it will be very tough for the world champions, who travel to Mexico with a strong squad albeit without Iniesta and Torres, but short of rest and against the better judgement of their club's. The World Cup final was only a month ago and with the domestic season still 18 days away from a restart, most of these players are at a key early start of their preseason training. Barcelona in particular have been very vocal about this, but complaints have fallen on the deaf ears of Vicente del Bosque, although I understand that he will use plenty of substitutes and not make too many demands on any of his stars. As we have discussed many times, Mexico City is at an altitude of 2260m, to put this into context, Madrid is the highest capital city in europe at just 660m, so this will be a major issue, in addition to which, the match will be played in humid, stormy conditions.

Hosts are taking this very seriously and have named a strong side, with an emphasis on youth ......

Mexico’s confirmed line-up: Ochoa, Juarez, Moreno, Maza, Salcido, Torrado, Marquez, Guardado, Giovanni, Vela and Chicharito.

This is considered the golden generation of mexican football, half of whom were involved in the 2005 U17 World Cup winning side and they have grown up together. We saw glimpses of their potential in South Africa and now is their time, with the older guard having stepped down.

This match is to celebrate 200 years of independence from Spain ( Bicentenario) and will be played in front of a huge crowd desperate for some world champion blood ! Hosts with a start looks good .

Mexico +0.25 2.02

Good Luck.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Well a very long final hour in the City-United game after our team were reduced to ten men late in the first period, felt like two matches from then on, but the visitors held out for a point.

That makes a good start to the domestic season with both selections winning, infact, we would have had seven winning blog selections in a row if Lyon had held onto a two goal lead with just 8 minutes to play last weekend !

Never mind, we have had 40 winners from the last 61 previews, a 65.57 % strike rate so it is hard to complain too much.

I have another two ideas for today, but for all the usual reasons will not be posting either on the blog, however I am likely to preview something later in the week, so please check back.

In the meantime, good luck with your bets !


Cardiff City - Sheffield United

City received a boost on friday when their transfer embargo was lifted, but I think it might take a little longer for the cloud over the welsh club to be lifted. They have had three weeks less recovery time than United having lost in the playoff final and the Blades know only too well , having fallen at the final hurdle themselves the previous year, how tough a blow that is to recover from and it normally takes a game or two to re-find your true level. Also, the financial problems at the club have yet to be sorted and they have had to let Joe Ledley go and replacement Jason Koumas is not yet fully fit, Stephen McPhail who is the real heartbeat of the side, although lower profile than several others, is missing today and will be sorely missed.

The ongoing saga in South Wales is getting to several of the squad, especially those who are being courted big time by other clubs namely Whittingham and Chopra, which might mean them being distracted and wary of injury whilst their future is being resolved.

United had terrible luck with injuries last season and were without 6-7 players for almost the full season, yet still finished 8th, just 5 points off a playoff spot. They have kept faith with boss Kevin Blackwell and he has been wheeling and dealing in the summer to improve the overall quality of his squad, making a couple of eyecatching signings most notably, Leon Briitton from Swansea (he will be in for a very warm welcome today !!!) who covers an enormous amount of ground and can pass you off the pitch at times and turned down a move to the EPL earlier this year and Johannes Ertl who will add a touch of steel in front of the back four, which will cut down on the fraililties United showed on the road at times last season. Having said that, they collected more points from losing positions than any other Championship side, so do not fret too much if they fall behind, actually only champions Newcastle scored first in more games than City so a Cardiff- draw double result or half time/full time bet at circa 17.0 might be worth a small interest if you are so inclined. However, United to get off to a flyer for me.

Sheffield United +0.25 ball 2.0 .... currently trading a little lower.

Good Luck.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


England Division 1

Tranmere Rovers- Oldham Athletic

Both of these clubs are short of funds and Rovers are operating on a tiny budget, one of the smallest in the division, former physio Les Parry has been given the coaching job on a full time basis and he is forced to go with a mixture of youth and cast offs from other clubs. Ashley Taylor one of his few "stars" will miss the opening months of the season and 5-6 players in total are unavailable today, with such a small squad, that leaves Rovers with a very difficult task this afternoon.

They face an Athletic side in somewhat similar financial circumstances, but by giving Paul Dickov his first coaching job, they have been able to take advantage of the well travelled professional's large number of contacts in the game, he has used them well,bringing in a number of quality players for this level including Ritchie Jones and Warren Feeney, plus taking a couple of EPL youngsters looking for league experience. Two french 20/21 year olds M'Voto and Tounkara arrived from Sunderland on season long loans this week, the first named played 41 matches for PSG and also has almost half a season at this level under his belt, having been with Southend last campaign. Both look the part , are very strong physically, motivated to do well and impress Steve Bruce or any of the other EPL coaches in the area.

Pre season could hardly have gone better for the Latics who have scored freely against lower league opposition, drawn with top flight Wigan and beaten both Preston (1-0) and a very strong Bolton side by a convincing 3-0 scoreline. Confidence is sky high at the club, around 2,000 fans are expected to make the journey to the Wirral today and over 500 turned up for a autograph signing in the town centre in midweek, this is impressive in an area where most are seduced away by the big name Manchester clubs. Dickov and Athletic want to build on all this momentum and with three relatively easy looking home games in their next four starts, three points today could see them off to a flyer. They look a side with goals in them and I feel they could flourish today against a side which had the second worst defensive record in the division last season, those problems remain unaddressed and it could be another long season for Rovers.

Oldham +0.25 ball 1.90 + asian line.

Good Luck.