Talk about a week of contrasting emotions. Saturday was probably the lowest we’ve felt all season. For the first time under Paul Cook it felt like we were out classed and out fought by Bradford.
Bradford were one of the few teams this season to come to Robin Park and have a go, and we didn’t know how to deal with that threat. We had done well to stay in the game and a point looked to be a decent result in the circumstances. But a classic sucker-punch saw us loose our undefeated home record in a game that we really shouldn’t have been in danger of loosing.
This is the second time we’ve lost after the international break and although the criticism of the club’s decision to postpone the Rochdale match has annoyed Paul Cook I think it’s valid to question if we needed to make that call.
Just as with Shrewsbury back in September we looked out of sorts for most of the match, Bradford looked fresher, hungrier and far more connected than we did. Defeats happen and as Cook himself has said there’ll be others over the season this always felt like it was avoidable.
When you think that most of the side had had nearly three weeks between matches it makes the decision to play an exclusively under eighteen side in the match with Accrington even more mystifying.
The manager made it clear after the match that he wasn’t happy with some of the criticism levelled at his side and cited a negative atmosphere around the club, which surprised me. There’s the usual daft comments and anger that follow a defeat but nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe those comments were to provoke a reaction? If they were we got it on Tuesday.
Tuesday was everything that Saturday wasn’t, the line-up was attacking and those changes made a big difference. Part of the criticism on Saturday came over the lack of attacking talent or intent on the pitch against Bradford but that all changed against Doncaster.
Will Grigg and Ryan Colclough made a massive difference to the side. The latter making it a perfect hat trick with his goal scoring exploits and managing to make it to Wigan Infirmary in time for the birth of his baby boy. Ryan’s had to be patient for his chance this season but surely he’s due a run in the side now? He offers Cook’s side something different and is genuinely a hard worker.
Grigg is also due a mention, he may not have scored and those elusive goals will surely come if he gets a run in the side. We look a far better team when he’s in it, even if he doesn’t score his hard work pays off for the rest of the team.
Let’s not kid ourselves, Doncaster aren’t the same threat as Bradford are and there’s still still a worry that we’re not beating sides around us at the top of the table but we bounced back in the right way on Tuesday. Continue that against Rotherham on Saturday and we’ll be looking good heading in to December.
First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 24th November 2017
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