Friday, November 17, 2006

A local derby...

...provides another challenge for my Oldham Athletic attendance prediction model. Simply fired through, the model gives a prediction which my eye says is far too low: 5,696. Certainly, based on attendances in the league this season thus far, this seems too high - attendances have barely broken the 5,000 mark. However, Bradford travel only 22 miles to get to Oldham, and the attendances at the previous two matches between the sides at Boundary Park have been 9,381 and 6,982.

So what to do? Are Bradford a special case, counting pretty much as Oldham's closest rivals right now, with the absence of a Wigan or a Stockport in the same division? Unfortunately the tag of closest rivals actually goes to Huddersfield Town at 16 miles away. Furthermore, Huddersfield do appear to bring better travelling followings than Bradford, in my limited experience and memory.

Nevertheless, Bradford and Huddersfield do pretty much count as our only rivals this season, and are rivals that bring large visiting contingents - unlike, for example, Bury. As such, why not a Rivals variable?

Inserting that, and the model predicts a slightly more satisfying 6,179. I still think it's a bit low, but then this season gates have always been pretty low. Bradford aren't on the best of runs (although they've signed a very good player in Tommy Black this week), while the Latics head into this game unbeaten in seven home games and after two consecutive away victories. So maybe, all that accounted for, a gate not much over 6,000 is about right. We'll see.

Oh and while I'm here I might as well predict the result I guess. 3-1 Oldham. No rationale for it. Come on Oldham!

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