12th Man: Where now?

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Max PowerNew Where do we go now?

It’s difficult to describe a game like Saturday, let alone reflect on it. It’s been a long time since we were on the end of such a sickening defeat. To have drawn the game after how well Latics played in spells would have been disappointing to lose it is a disaster.

Much had been made before the game about this being the start of Warren Joyce’s time in charge of us for real, that the previous six games had effectively been free hits due to the nature of the opposition and that we would show what we were really made of in the next two games against Ipswich and fellow strugglers Rotherham. Arguably we needed a total of six points from those two games with supposed stronger sides lying in wait after the Christmas period.

Losing Saturday’s match makes Warren Joyce’s task that bit harder, the first half showing from Latics was disjointed no doubt made worse thanks to the abysmal performance of referee Keith Stroud, and his decision to award a penalty for a fantastic tackle by Dan Burn out of the area. Despite all of that Latics had managed to get back on level terms and went in at the break as the side in ascendency.

The game continued to swing that way in the second half and it felt inevitable that Latics would take the lead and go on to win the game, the bigger worry for myself was whether the match would be abandoned before we did so. Everything was going to plan as the fantastic Yanic Wildschut got that second goal.

At that point I thought Latics would go on to get a third, let alone concede another two, the fog that enveloped the DW didn’t help matters but Latics somehow managed to lose a game that they should have been winning every day of the week.

There were many promising signs from the game against Ipswich. The attacking play and link up’s between our forward players primarily Yanic, Jordi and Grigg were a wonder to see. We looked like we could score with every attack and indeed we should have done just that. But there were also worrying signs, Stephen Warnock struggled in an un-familiar right back position and David Perkins looks to be out for a while – adding to an already busy treatment room.

The calls for Warren Joyce’s head aren’t surprising, ironically by many who also called for Gary Caldwell to be sacked but they are foolish. If the last decade should have taught Latics fans anything it’s that stability is the way forward. Not constant chopping and changing, Warren Joyce has got a 3 and a half year contract. Unless something drastic happens he isn’t going anywhere any time soon. It’s up to him and the squad to turn this round. Despite everything going against us there is more than enough quality in that squad to turn it around.

They need to show that at Rotherham – anything less than a win is unthinkable.


Sean Livesey

First published in the Wigan Evening Post, Saturday 24th December 2016.

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