Bradford City hopeful Lee Novak could return to lift their spirits
The experienced pair have had bitty seasons because of injury and the Bantams have missed them.
Striker Novak has missed the last 11 matches with a torn calf, and has not scored since September, whereas midfielder Clarke's last outing was against the Latics in November's FA Cup defeat.
“Lee Novak's trained, now whether depending what he does this week enables him to start on Saturday remains to be seen but it's been great to have him back involved,” revealed assistant manager Kenny Black.
“I know he's been frustrated, all the injured lads are.
“Billy Clarke's probably a little bit away from joining in.
“We're hoping to have a couple back for Saturday but rather than coming out and saying we're definitely going to have this player back or that player back, signs are looking a lot better than they were, shall we say.
“That gives us a much-needed boost if we manage to get one or two additions to the squad.
“Billy Clarke and Lee Novak certainly come into the category of important players, Gareth Evans too – all the lads that are out are. We're not the only team that have suffered a fair share of injuries over the last number of weeks and it really is key for us to get these lads back and available as quickly as possible.”
The Bantams need a lift mentally as much as anything after last week's defeat at home to Carlisle United.
“You tend not to look at the league table when you're experiencing a difficult run as we are but it came crashing down on Saturday when we realised we'd slipped to second bottom,” said Black.
Bradford have already lost twice to Oldham in the cups this season, and whilst Black insists they are going out to claim a first win since the FA Cup thrashing of Tonbridge Angels on November 7, he admits a first point in six games would not be a disaster.
“Every game we play in we want to try and win the game,” he said. “We're away from home again to a really really dangerous side who on their day can cause us problems but if come quarter to five on Saturday you've only managed to take a point it wouldn't be a total disaster but certainly in the early part of the game and the mindset of the players we'll go out there at three o'clock to try and get a victory and a much-needed boost for everyone.
“It doesn't do us much harm and it doesn't do the players much harm the fact they know how dangerous they can be.
“They've got a decent squad. Stuart (McCall, the manager) watched them on Tuesday night in the cup tie they lost at home to Sunderland and they do have a squad that can conjure up many formations and they've got a lot of dangerous players you need to keep an eye on.
“It's fresh in the players minds what they did to us in the FA Cup after us going in front and I think it's important we remember that, what they're good at and what they're maybe not so good at.”
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