Dean Furman: Oldham can go all the way
We won’t go quietly, says captain Dean
Dean Furman (right) scored the Mitre Goal of the Season. Now he is looking to take Oldham into the playoffs
Dean Furman is confident that Oldham Athletic can push for promotion in League 1.
Furman was appointed captain during the summer and he is looking forward to tomorrow's league opener at home to Sheffield United.
"Pre-season has been really good, similar to the last two years," he said. "It's been geared up to getting us into perfect shape. We made a great start last season and hope to do the same again.
Furman, 23, was in top form last season. The clear highlight was his strike against Notts County that earned him the Mitre Goal of the Year.
Now he believes that Oldham can take the division by storm. "I'm excited about the season. Last year we were disappointed to tail off right at the end but we're not fancied this time, and all the boys are quietly confident. We'll take it game by game.
‘We made a great start last season and hope to do the same again’
"We know our target, we're very ambitious and we want to be right at the top.
"I feel we're capable of beating anyone in our quest."
The Latics have had a testing schedule including matches against Blackburn, Wigan and Birmingham. Furman was impressed with Blackburn's two Jewish players – Myles Anderson and Nick Blackman. "It's good to see them doing so well," he said.
Furman is confident that he can thrive in the role of captain. "I'll enjoy it. There won't be much change on the pitch as I'm quite vocal.
"I've got some personal targets which I don't want to disclose but want to keep improving and score more goals."
The club this week agreed a £5.5m deal with their local council that is expected to secure its future.
Oldham chairman Simon Corney said: "This is very welcome news after what has been a very frustrating period for everyone. We now have a chance to genuinely redevelop the current ground and we have taken steps to implement this and secure the club's future, which has always been our intention."
Furman commented: "It might take a time to redevelop the ground but it's good to see the club looking to move forward. The fans wanted to stay."
Joe Jacobson will miss the first three games of the season for his new club Shrewsbury Town through suspension. He was being sent off in the League 2 playoff semi-final last season.
Michael Stone, first-team coach at Barnet, hopes that the team enjoys a smoother ride than last season, when they avoided relegation on the final day of the season.
The Bees travel to Morecambe, and Stone, who recently became a father for the first time, is confident they will hit the ground running.
"Morale and confidence is good and there is a buzz around the squad," Stone said.
Under manager Lawrie Sanchez, Barnet have kept hold of several of the players who finished last season. Stone said: "This is a key feature as this group went through a very tough season but came through it."
Looking at targets for the season, Stone said: "The club has finished the last three on 48 points. We're looking to finish comfortably away from the relegation zone. We're optimistic that we can achieve a good league finish.
"First and foremost, it's about not looking over our shoulders. We need to thread results together and make ourselves hard to beat.
"We've got some really talented players and I believe that we're capable of surprising some people."