12th Man: Green shoots

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What’s that I see? Green shoots of recovery?

Yanic Wildschut

It may be too early to decide what Saturday was, whether it was a blip on an otherwise downward trajectory or if it was the kick up the proverbial that we needed. Whatever it was it was welcome and it was timely, if we had lost against Nottingham Forest it would have been another psychological knock to a team low on confidence.

As it is that result now gives the lads the knowledge they can compete with the teams around us and yes can even win a couple of games against those sides. I wasn’t there unfortunately due to work commitments but did listen in to BBC Radio Nottingham’s commentary of the match. Local radio isn’t usually the most balanced way of covering games but even that commentary team couldn’t help but be impressed by a Latics side who got most things right on Saturday.

Admittedly Forest weren’t great opposition, they are going through their own problems at the moment and it showed but the difference with this match and what had happened in the few weeks was Latics ability to capitalise  when they were on top.

The draw for the fourth round threw up one of those ‘football eh’ moments, just a couple of months after leaving Manchester United Warren Joyce will be heading back over to Stretford to face his old employers in the FA Cup. I was hoping for one of the lower sides still in the competition such as Accrington Stanley away so the contrast is stark but if we can put on a good show at Old Trafford it will be worth it.

The draw is a financial boost for the club and despite worries over yet to be announced ticket prices I’m sure it’s a date a lot of Wiganer’s will want to be at. No one will give us a chance but we’ve been here before. Who could forget Uwe Rosler taking a Wigan Athletic side to his old club and beating them to reach Wembley? Admittedly we had a stronger side then than we do now but it shows in the FA Cup anything can happen. As we well know.

Latics should head to Burton this weekend with a deal of confidence about them, they now need to translate that in to results in the League. If we can perhaps this season isn’t the write off it was looking like a few weeks ago.

Sean Livesey

First published in the Wigan Evening Post, Friday 13th January 2017

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