Kewell will fire-up Oldham, says Aussie recruit Blackwood

Source: NurPhoto

Oldham Athletic’s Australian import George Blackwood is convinced compatriot Harry Kewell will restore equilibrium to lead the languishing Lancashire club away from danger at the foot of English football’s fourth tier.

Seven defeats from his opening 12 league games has heaped early season pressure on Kewell, the Latics’ eighth coach during the stormy 34-month tenure of Moroccan owner Abdallah Lemsagam.

Former Adelaide United attacker Blackwood, 23, has found himself thrust into “a tough” predicament, amidst fan unrest at the downward trajectory of the club under Lemsagam’s leadership.

But the Olyroo is confident Socceroos legend Kewell, and his assistant Alan Maybury, will navigate a path to consistency and dispel fan fears at possible relegation to the National League.

Last weekend’s 2-0 home loss to fellow strugglers Scunthorpe did little to appease concerns and kept the spotlight trained on Kewell, as he seeks to progress a coaching career that has yet to ignite after previous stints at Crawley Town and Notts County.

But Blackwood sees the tide turning - and soon.

“The results don’t really reflect our performances and how strong the team can be,” Blackwood told The World Game.

“It’s now all about trying to turn things around and get the results that our football often deserves.

“The boss is definitely going to bring us out of this - he’s a great coach and you see the passion he has for the job every day.

“I’m very confident we are going to put a few results together very soon.”

Hand-picked by Kewell, new-arrival Blackwood scored his maiden goal for the club in a 2-1 win over Cheltenham at Boundary Park earlier this month.

He’s made six appearances to date and admits the physicality of League Two has taken time to adjust to.

“It’s a good challenge and a tough one. It’s completely different to Australia, with the style of football and the physicality of it all,” he said.

“I’ve got a few knocks in each game which doesn’t usually happen in the A-League.

“Back home everybody is trying to play football and play out from the back and stuff.

“But over here it’s all results based. You want to play with the ball as much as possible but sometimes it’s just a battle for most of the game.

“There’s a lot riding on every single match. It’s just a completely different game in a way and I’m also trying to adapt to playing two games a week which I’m not used to.

“It’s a massive learning curve and I’m working with top, top coaches and with some great players as well, so I can only improve.”

Though perilously placed just five spots off the bottom, Oldham are also only four points off mid-table. 

“This is a league where if you string a couple of wins together you’re suddenly eighth or ninth on the table,” Blackwood said.

“It’s been bit tough but I’m sure we’ll get there ... Harry Kewell and Alan Maybury are really pushing us in training and providing us with everything we need.

“As players, we need to put some performances together and as I said before there have been some good ones where we haven’t got the results.”

Blackwood expects his game to be elevated by soaking up the knowledge imparted by Kewell, a player he idolised in his formative years.

“I hadn’t met Harry before but he was a big driving force in bringing me to the club,” he said.

“I was so excited to work with him because he’s a huge player in the history of Australia, and he’s been great with me so far.

“Hopefully I can repay him with performances in the future.

“We talked about things I need to improve on and there are things he’s helping me with.

“He’s very hands-on which is fantastic, I love that. 

“He was an attacking player like me which is perfect at this point in my career to help me push on.”