Blows raining down

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The blows keep raining down, like a boxer curled up on the floor of the ring with the referee stood over for the count.

It really is a case of how much more can Wigan Athletic take? How much more can this club, this fanbase, this beleaguered coaching staff take?

If December had seen positive signs of progress, some wins and some hard earned draws January and February have been anything but progressive.

Part of that can be put down to the upheaval in the playing squad. Partnerships that had taken months to build were broken up as some players returned to their parent clubs, others were released and others suffered with injury.

Let us not forget that we’re currently without Kyle Joseph, Lee Evans, Tom Pearce and Adam Long due to injury.

But what we saw on Wednesday evening was a team absolutely shorn of confidence. For the first 25 minutes we were by far the better side, Hull hadn’t got going and if we had taken our chances we would have been ahead but once again Latics conceded and there was only one result.

Every time Hull attacked it looked like they would score, the only surprise was that it was only 2-0 at half-time.

In a week where Latics would have been hoping to build on the win at Northampton they’ve instead lost both matches and conceded 7 goals in a week in the process. Jamie Jones has endured a torrid time since the turn of the year.

He’s clearly low on confidence and I’m still surprised we didn’t look at bringing in another keeper during January when there was space in the squad.

Jones is clearly a fantastic bloke and has contributed to the Latics story over the last four years but for his sake, as much as ours I really sense he needs taking out of the firing line.

Latics keepers have gone through bad spells before and benefitted from some time on the sidelines, Jones himself deputised for both Christian Walton and David Marshall. If it was anyone other than Owen Evans on the bench I imagine it would have happened already.

Nonetheless despite his youth Evans deserves his chance and Jones deserves a break from having to face the undoubted criticism that will come his way each time Latics concede this season.

Leam Richardson sounded like a man ready to give up after Wednesday’s defeat and frankly I couldn’t blame him if he did. A man thrust in to a position he never asked for and responsibility he never wanted, all thanks to decisions made that none of the footballing staff had control over.

It’s the most despondent I’ve heard him throughout this and I don’t know if it’s down to recent performances or if it’s just the constant enormity of the situation getting to him.

Of course it isn’t over yet, we’ve been in far worse league positions and got out of it but the longer this goes on and the heavier the defeats are we’re going to run out of time.

It’s amazing that we’re still in the fight for staying up but the last few weeks have been damaging, let’s make no mistake about it.

It was eight years ago on Wednesday that we travelled to Huddersfield for the FA Cup fifth round and comprehensively out classed Huddersfield Town. This Saturday we face a Lincoln side who weren’t even a league side when we went on that FA Cup run, culminating in the greatest day in our history.

It tells you everything about our downfall that Lincoln are favourites on Saturday and not us. We somehow need to start getting points from somewhere, it looks an impossible situation but whilst there’s a chance we have to hope.

The side that we have now has enough experience to know what is required, if we can somehow cut out the ridiculous amount of individual mistakes there is a chance but that chance is diminishing with each and every week.

A club systematically stripped of everything that was key to it and with no clear update on when a new ownership structure will be able to save us (if at all) it would have broken other clubs but as my mate Neil Myers succinctly put it the other week, the night is darkest before the dawn.

We will rise again. Even if we have to return to where Dave Whelan found us before we do.

Keep the faith ladies and gentlemen.

They’ve not killed us off yet.

Sean Livesey

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