Cup Runneth Over

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Well, we only went and won a football match didn’t we? It may have been in the cup and Nottingham Forest may have been absolutely diabolical but we applied ourselves and played very well, thanks in no small part to the return of Sam Morsy.

There’s rumours aplenty as to why Morsy was jettisoned to Barnsley in August, however which way you look at it, it has to be a mark against Gary Caldwell and whoever else was involved for not attempting to compromise and fit him into our plans.

I’m sure there will be tougher tests ahead but if Saturday was that glimpse of the rest of the season, then I think I like it. The squad will be buoyed by the forthcoming trip to Old Trafford, maybe even more so than the fans, given the talk of exorbitant pricing at the Theatre of Dreams.

These tougher tests come thick and fast and they don’t come much tougher than Burton Albion in a game which isn’t so much of a six pointer, as a nine pointer, given that’s how far adrift we could be if we lose.

However, victory at the Pirelli Stadium may well put the skids (sorry) on the Brewers’ own attempts to stay in this division.

Running over or spilling out?

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be where they are than where we are. Plus, they have adapted to this division slightly better than us, much to the chagrin of many Latics faithful, but there is a lot to admire about them. It seems all the goodwill towards a small team doing well goes out of the window when that small team isn’t us but they have a style of playing which has served them well despite their poor recent form and meagre budget.

Compared to Latics, to paraphrase the dearly departed Notorious B.I.G., it has seemed to be a case of more money, more problems at numerous times over the past few years with our parachute payments giving us both a huge advantage and being a millstone around our neck.

The future beyond this season looks very uncertain without them but maybe, just maybe we can get back to being that team who punches above its weight, and let’s face it, survival in this division would mean that we would have to.

Yet first and foremost, we must do battle again with a club who are much smaller than us, yet we are still to register a competitive league victory against them. A key test awaits. Can Warren Joyce succeed where Gary Caldwell failed?

Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 13th January 2017

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