It is a new era on Saturday but I fully expect events to unfold gradually rather than a big bang approach. There’s some different blokes in the board room but I expect that just like the last lot, they will be hoping for a home win. There’s no shame in losing a long unbeaten home record against a Leeds side who looked very, very strong against our patched up team, but with two home games in five days, we can ideally build another home run of form. Well, we have to basically, else we’re going to be in trouble by Christmas.
Reading have never really recovered from losing the play off finals two years ago but they will still represent a tough proposition, and let’s face it, our record against teams lower than ourselves in the table has been woeful this year. Blackburn are comparatively flying at the minute and seem to have adapted to the Championship somewhat better than ourselves, though they still seem very over-reliant on the poor man’s Nick Powell up front. Still, at least Tony Mowbray has stopped whining for a bit.
As it stands, we are now closer to the relegation zone than the play off places so some positive results will be necessary to keep our heads above water. Mid table for us would be a great outcome this season but without being greedy, it’s better to be top half mid table than lower mid-table, as lower mid-table makes any team susceptible to a slump in form. From our perspective, we have slumped from the fringes of the play offs to 16th which is no great disaster, so long as this downturn in form can be arrested and thrown in the back of the van.
It looks like some of the first choice forward players are slowly being nursed back to full fitness, which should in turn lead to stronger performances and more consistency. Let us hope the two weeks’ off has also been used to address some of the defensive frailties and inconsistencies that has turned wins and draws into defeats before the international break as well.
Finally, full marks to the club for knocking ticket prices down to £15 on Saturday, I’m not sure that a game against Reading is ever going to be the most mouth-watering prospect for floating fans but the new management are at least acknowledging that competitive pricing is needed to build the club in the way they have proposed to.
Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 23rd November 2018