THERE have been two major contrasts in Oldham’s season so far.

There’s been Harry Kewell’s free-scoring attack compared with a defence that has kept just one clean sheet in League Two this season.

And ahead of Mansfield’s visit to Boundary Park tomorrow night there is the conundrum of Latics’ poor home form compared with some of their excellent results on the road.

Of Oldham’s five home wins this season just two have come in the league, against Cheltenham in November and Bradford last month, the 3-1 victory in the latter seeing Stuart McCall dismissed as Bantams boss.

On the roads things have been much improved, the 0-0 draw at Grimsby in the final game of 2020 seeing Kewell’s side narrowly miss out on a club record eighth straight away win in all competitions.

All involved know fixing the Boundary Park form can see Latics head in the right direction in League Two.

Currently sitting 15th in the table having been in FA Cup action at Bournemouth on Saturday, they are six points shy of the play-off places and eight points clear of the bottom two, firmly in mid-table.

Striker Zak Dearnley cannot however put his finger on the difference between home and away performances which needs to be remedied.

“For me personally it’s just happened that we’ve won away,” said the six-goal frontman.

“You see people saying that we’re not doing well at home but it’s the luck of the draw really.

“We haven’t had that luck at home but hopefully we can change that now.

“Hopefully we can turn that around and show everyone we can win at home.”

The stalemate at the Mariners at the end of December also saw Latics pick up a first clean sheet in the league this season, a welcome monkey off the defence’s back.

As part of a free-scoring attack, only three sides in the fourth tier having scored more than Latics’ 33 goals this season, Dearnley is confident Kewell’s side will progress further in 2021.

Is it defensive issues that have held things back however with only second-from-bottom Grimsby, 40, having conceded more than Oldham’s 38 goals.

“There have been ups and downs,” said Dearnley, who would have seven this season had the goal in the abandoned game at Forest Green counted.

“We had a poor start to the season but we’re coming back from that now and there’s not many points that separate us from being up there.

“We know if we can do well in the next few games we’ll be right up there. We’ve just got to keep on going.”

Dearnley believes that confidence is not misplaced given the big changes at Boundary Park last summer ahead of the new campaign.

Kewell inherited just eight players and is looking to become the first Latics manager since Lee Johnson in the 2013-14 campaign to complete a full term at the helm.

All that points to things improving over time, says former Manchester United man Dearnley.

“You’ve got to remember that at the start of the season we didn’t really have a team and the lads are all gelling together now,” he added.

“We’re getting that team spirit.”