Football, Latics

12th Man: Beginning of the end?

It's surely last chance saloon for Graham Barrow and his Latics side this weekend, a win could be a real boost to the survival chances whilst a defeat will surely signal the end of Latics return to the Championship
Wigan Athletic - Defying the odds

Beginning of the end?

Its two weeks since Latics last took to the pitch and two weeks since Graham Barrow’s first match in charge. There were promising signs from Graham’s first game in charge, for much of the game against Villa Latics were the better side.

There was attacking play in abundance, certainly compared to what we had seen in the previous few months. But sadly our usual Achilles heel was still present – we couldn’t convert our chances when required and went behind when chasing the game.

Two weeks later will much have changed? Hopefully the training ground has been a positive place over the last couple of weeks. The emphasis needs to be on our attacking play and I trust that Graham Barrow and Peter Atherton have been concentrating on just that.

There was a blow with the news that both Will Grigg and Andy Kellett look like they will be out for the season. Grigg in particular has had a torrid season, after not featuring during Euro 2016 he actually started off relatively well under Gary Caldwell with six goals by October.

Since Warren Joyce took over though Grigg has been out on his luck, played in a system that didn’t play to his strengths and dogged by injury problems. It can only be hoped that whatever league we’re in next season we will see the real Will Grigg return.

Andy Kellett’s knock-out for the season is another blow; despite not featuring under Joyce he looked sharp and ready for a big part in our run in during his 55 minutes or so against Aston Villa. If he can get back to full fitness he can be a real threat for us next season.

So back to Saturday, lose against Newcastle and that surely will be that if we aren’t already at that point yet. A win however unlikely it might be could be the turning point in our season that never came, Newcastle’s home form despite their march to the title – is patchy. They sit 13th in the Championship form table and their last two home results have seen them draw 2-2 with Bristol City and lose 3-1 to Fulham, a trip to St James is a daunting prospect but there is a chance. However slim that chance is.

Graham Barrow

The lads will be backed by over 1200 Wiganer’s at St James Park – a great effort considering our current position, many of course looking forward to a full weekend sampling the delights of Tyneside.  Indeed it could be a trip that we maynot make again for a long while. What better way to reward those loyal supporters than with a win on Saturday.

If Graham Barrow’s side can pick up that elusive win I can start to ‘believe’ again, anything less will more than likely see Latics facing League One football next season.

Sean Livesey

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