Warnock is looking beyond the Boundary

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The Independent Online
Nationwide League

Oldham Athletic's new manager, Neil Warnock, and his player-coach, Andy Ritchie, begin their quest for First Division survival today against fellow strugglers Bradford City at Boundary Park.

Warnock, who succeeds Graeme Sharp, has built his reputation on successful promotion campaigns in the lower divisions and he has been given a contract until the end of the season in the expectation of rapid results.

Oldham are bottom and Warnock and Ritchie, who completed a free transfer from Scarborough in time to face the team directly above them today, have a monumental task ahead. Yet Warnock, sacked by Plymouth Argyle last month, is relishing the challenge. "We have nine home games left and I hope we can put together a good run," he said.

"I've come here until the end of the season. I am hoping to impress the chairman [Ian Stott] but it's a two-way thing: I hope Oldham impress me as well."

At the opposite end of the table, Barnsley tackle Wolves in a match which pits second place against third at Oakwell.

The Barnsley manager, Danny Wilson, said: "Wolves are very strong and physical and can cause you a lot of problems if you let them. They've got quite a few players who you have to respect, including Steve Bull and Don Goodman."

The leaders, Bolton, head for Huddersfield hoping to hit top form again after two indifferent displays. Bolton, 10 points ahead of Barnsley and firm favourites to win the title, were beaten by Reading and held by Sheffield United in their last two matches. They are bolstered by Nathan Blake's return from suspension but Alan Thompson starts a two-match ban.