Latics

Firing Bullets – is this it?

Aka, “your mid-week narrative”.

Things are fairly relentless at the moment, with a twenty game unbeaten run, five wins on the bounce and our closet competitors slipping off the pace, you’d think there’d be plenty to talk about, wouldn’t you? Well, let’s grab a lump of 2×4 (or any other wood you’re comfortable touching) and see…

One – Is that it?
With Latics ten points from third place and 18 points from 7th, it’s very tempting to book a Rubenesque vocalist on to the coach to Burton next week, and whilst they reckon pride comes before a fall, what the hell, the fans deserve to enjoy these last five games.

The key to promotion won’t be what goes on in the stands, but what happens on the pitch and I’m not so sure that I’d extend that message to the players. I suppose winning games is always enjoyable but they’ve got to put the hard work in to get those wins and I’m sure Caldwell will be keeping them focused right until either the season finishes or we’ve silverware in the bag.

Two – Luck comes in three?
Although it wasn’t the best game to watch, Coventry never really threatened at the weekend and Caldwell’s men frustrated themselves with poor delivery in the last third than the visitors did. But I don’t think the result was ever in doubt and that goal was so certain that the scoreboard chalked it up at half-time.

By my reckoning, three more games like Saturday’s will do the job. Three, fairly dull games where it is simply a case of waiting for Latics to score one and then shut up shop for the rest of the game. Three games like that and then we’re back in the Championship.

Three – Grigg him a chance
Of course, promotion will bring as many questions as it does celebratory nights out. Foremost of these in people’s minds at the moment is whether Will Grigg can cut it in a higher division. His ability, it appears, is beyond doubt, but people are raising questions around his physicality, his pace and his fitness.

I’ve no idea whether Grigg can cut it in the championship, but I do know that, having scored sixty odd goals (and counting) in the last four seasons and topping the twenty mark in the last two, he deserves the chance to find out. It seems quite a Latics thing that many of the people casting doubt on Grigg’s chances next season will be calling for Vardy’s inclusion in the England squad, when (at different levels of course) they’ve both made equally strong cases for the step up.

Will is still a young lad with plenty to learn, but, as far as I can see, he’s passed every challenge Latics have thrown at him this year and whose to say he won’t do the same next? He certainly can’t do any worse than the last set of forwards we had at that level.

Four – it’s not all about us
Whilst we’re being upbeat about promotion, shall we try to work out exactly when we might win the league? Ok, that’s extremely previous, so instead let’s talk about ideal situations. I suppose that would be having promotion and the league sorted after Southend at home, meaning that the pleasure of seeing us win the league isn’t restricted to a select few and we get a nice, fairly relaxed couple of games where we can carry on the celebration.

Another key point is that it takes the pressure off the Blackpool game, allowing us to focus on the issues that they’re having and support their fans as much as we’re celebrating our own success. We are completely behind the campaigns that Blackpool fans are running at the moment and will be running a couple of articles in the lead up to the game to highlight what’s going on in the hope that you’ll all get behind them too, so watch this space.

Five, men in a pod
To plug a less worthy cause, involving four needy blokes, this is the first thing I’ve written since we did the Pie at Night podcast. We’ve had time to reflect on it and, although it’s not going to win any awards, it’s a decent first attempt considering we didn’t have a clue what we were doing and is definitely a good starting point to improve from.

No promises, but we’re hoping to be back with more vaguely Latics flavoured chatter in time for the Blackpool game in the meantime you can still get the first episode from your favoured podcast app or on Soundcloud. As well as spending a couple of minutes pondering the state of play at the club you’ll find us discussing breakfasts, podcasts, modern music and reasons for changing your Twitter username as well as listening to two acts that have been on at the old courts recently and one that has a big comeback on there later this month.

Six – onwards and upwards
And talking of big comebacks, that’s probably what will be required from Burton and Walsall for Latics to fall out of the promotion places. Walsall’s win at Gillingham last night keeps things a bit more interesting but ultimately it’s in our own hands and a win against Doncaster will go a long way to settling the nerves.

We were probably guilty of complacency when we faced Donny a couple of years ago in the Championship. Managing only one point from the two games after a possibly undeserved draw at the DW. Thankfully, complacency doesn’t seem to be something the current team is capable of and hopefully another ninety minutes of hard yakka, with a dusting of skill and imagination will get us one step closer to the finish line.

See you on the other side…

NRP

 

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