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Richie Wellens: Walsall Clash is the Biggest of the Season

Oldham Athletic manager Richie Wellens has spoken ahead of Wednesday evening's League One clash between his Latics and Dean Keates' Saddlers and admitted that the match is probably the biggest fixture of the season as he seeks to guide his club to safety.
Wednesday evening's meeting will give both sides a chance to improve their hopes of survival as the 18th placed Saddlers take on Oldham. Keates side are three points clear of the Latics and could move further away from the drop zone of they can build upon last weekend's narrow victory over Bury.

Oldham sat just two points ahead of the drop zone ahead of Tuesday evening's fixtures and will be hoping to build upon their recent draw with Oxford United as they welcome the Saddlers to Boundary Park.

38-year-old Wellens, who was appointed Latics boss on a permanent basis following a successful spell as caretaker in October 2017, spoke via the club's official website OldhamAthletic.co.uk and said; "For me it’s the biggest game of the season just because it allows us to get a bit of the gap between the other teams.

"There’s obviously Wimbledon playing tonight, Rochdale are playing tonight and Northampton are playing tonight so if we can win this game, no one will make points on us and there’s another game gone. We’ve still got our games in hand on them so it’s a huge game but were playing alright at the minute. We are playing decent stuff and I like the positive intensity we are working at."

The Manchester-born former midfielder then went on to discuss how the Saddlers playing budget, believed to be among the lowest in the league, is a contributing factor to the position they find themselves in, he continued; "If you look at the budget they work on. There are some really good budgets in this league so I’m not surprised to see them where they are.

"Would I have expected them to be in the top half? Not really. They’ve got some really good individual players that get them through games but you have to take your hat off to the manager beforehand because he was doing a really good job.

"You look at the budget that they work with compared to Oxford’s budget; I think Walsall are level on points with Oxford so if you look at Oxford’s budget and Walsall’s budget, I think it’s a club that’s doing okay at the moment."

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