‘Square pegs in round holes’ is a cliché widely known to Oldham fans who have suffered through years of financial troubles. Indeed, it’s almost replaced ‘Keep The Faith’ as the club’s motto – the former meaning is more in keeping with the generally pessimistic nature at Boundary Park.
With a measly wage budget – let alone a transfer fund – there has always been an air of ‘make do and mend’ at the Latics, the wartime attitude flourishing within the cold crevices of Ice Station Zebra.
The question is: why is Paul Dickov using this to fix a problem where there isn’t one?
Despite having a competent left-back on the bench, the Scot is adamant that he will not play, instead opting to play one of the best right-backs the division possesses in Kieran Lee there, whilst Josh Parker (a striker) or Tom Adeyemi (central midfielder) slot in on the opposite side.
Paul Black must be wondering what he has done to fall so badly out of favour.
Although Adeyemi performed admirably at Anfield, Lee proves a far better option. Despite Parker’s awesome pace, Lee is the more rounded of the two.
And despite Lee playing well on the left, Black is the better suited to that side of the pitch.
It’s surprising that Dickov insists on this strange back four when one of his favourite phrases is ‘keep the shape’. Playing a striker at full-back upends the scales, unbalances the side which he must have drilled that mantra into countless times on the training ground.
In my opinion, Black is a decent left-back for the level Oldham play at – obviously the next Ashley Cole won’t be gracing the flanks of Boundary Park anytime soon. To not play him in favour of a striker at right-back seems foolish.
It seems as though something is going on behind the scenes – a niggling injury, perhaps, or something darker?
Whispers around Boundary Park have hinted at Black being spotted out drinking the night prior to the F.A. Cup Tie against Liverpool.
If this is true, I think missing starting the biggest game of his career is punishment enough; to continue to leave him out seems a step to far and unnecessarily jeopardises the team.
After this absence, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Black leave the club in the near future – and the last competent full-back who was deemed unsuitable, Marc Tierney, is now playing Premier League football.