I’m never short for words but trying to insert the right ones is proving increasingly difficult. There’s something about being a Wigan Athletic fan which induces personality disorders.
You’d perhaps have to go all the way back to the Paul Jewell era to find a period whereby we could say with any sort of certainty the direction we were heading. Maybe the second half of last season too, though that seems to have been swiftly re-written by those seeking to scapegoat a certain Scotsman for our current predicament.
There’s no point dwelling on the last two games, they’re done: one point from six has been lodged. There will be twists to come but that gap is only getting bigger and we need to find consecutive wins to have any sort of good chance of staying up.
Playing as we did last time we met Forest in the cup this weekend would represent a good start. However, I don’t expect them to be the same sort of pushover they were six weeks ago. Beating Forest and Blackburn will put us in a strong position on two obvious fronts. Losing to them both and things start to look fairly terminal.
I see players that are trying, and losing is hurting them but I don’t see a lot of structure in our play attempting to win games, and that is what we need more so than ever. It is as simple as that.
Maybe not though. If scoring lots of goals and keeping clean sheets was easy, then everyone would be doing it, so I don’t want to be too harsh on Warren Joyce. Yet we are running out of time for him to find that magic formula that will move us up the league.
If anything, what is being served up seems even more disjointed and shambolic, both tactically and formation wise. Forwards are isolated, we are playing without natural wide men and one out of every three passes (on the rare occasion we do have control of the ball) are going astray. This is not a formula for success.
I’m no possession snob (it’s soooo 2013) but if we were playing effective long ball, I don’t think there’d be too many grumbles if we were winning games. But I am struggling to pin down any sort of style, the Warren Joyce “brand” so to speak and he has been here nearly four months now.
We hear about what a fantastic coach he is but it is simply not translating to the way we play on the pitch. It was always going to be a tough gig but if the whole reason of appointing him was to get us to stay up, then the plan is as far off track as it has been all season.
Even so, if we can just go back to whatever it was that enabled us to beat Forest, Burton and Brentford in January then we will have a great chance of staying up.
The waters are as muddied as ever. We’re doomed! We’re not! We’re doomed! We’re not! [repeat to fade]
Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 24th February 2017
You can hear more of our thoughts on Warren Joyce on the Pie at Night Podcast, Episode 19 – Back to the Status Quo is available now, via your favourite podcast app, on our Soundcloud page or via the player below. Enjoy…
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