I said on Friday night that whatever happens over the next few weeks Paul Cook and his players had already done the club and indeed the town proud.
That was clear again on Saturday as Latics battled manfully against a Barnsley side who knew that failing to win meant near certain relegation. Barnsley’s next three games include Leeds, Brentford and Nottingham Forest.
All sides at the top end of the table, that need something to either keep up their promotion push or secure a play-off place. So it isn’t a stretch to say that Saturday’s match was must win for Barnsley.
Was it for Latics? Well I’d certainly be sleeping a lot easier if we had managed to get three points, but even with the 12 point deduction hanging over us we still have a chance.
That chance needs to be grabbed with both hands against Hull on Tuesday night. Hull clearly have issues of their own, but unless we exploit that it’ll mean nothing.
Two wins may be enough, three to be sure but none of the next three will be easy. When are they ever? But against Hull we have the chance to lay down a marker, and say to those at the bottom that we’re not dead and buried yet.
The lads looked out on their feet on Saturday and although Paul Cook has quite rightfully stuck with very much the same line-up over the last few matches I expect to see changes on Tuesday night.
Losing Danny Fox is a body blow but with Kal Naismith’s performances at Centre-back over the last few months still fresh in the memory it isn’t the disaster it could have been. Fox’s red card has been appealed but with our current luck with the football league I won’t be holding my breath.
To realistically stay in the division we need to win our next three matches, which would hopefully be enough but what’s the point of retaining your Championship status if there isn’t a club to watch in the Championship next season? And on that score things are definitely still up in the air.
According to some in the press (I won’t dignify the name of the publication) a number of bidders have already baulked at the size of our wage bill. Considering it’s one of the smallest in the Championship it doesn’t say much for those wanting to purchase a Championship football club.
With Jenson Weir and Joe Gelhardt set to depart it could be the start of a fire sale that the club needs in order to pay bills but could be disastrous for any prospects next season.
As Chris Marsh pointed out last week we’ve spent ten years building up the academy to make the club self reliant and in the space of a few weeks it could be torn apart thanks to two chancers in Hong Kong.
Which once again shows the huge lack of foresight with this whole situation. Two big transfers this summer with a third consecutive season of Championship football to come could have seen the club turn a profit and potentially launch a play-off bid next season.
Why pull the trigger now? Why not wait till the summer? None of it makes sense but the Wigan branch of CSI on twitter can shed more light on the situation than I ever could.
All that matters now is that we fight for our future. A future taken away from us, we owe it to all of those who back in 1932 insisted Wigan could sustain a football club.
Good luck to the lads on Tuesday. They’ve been an absolute credit to our club and although we can’t be there for them in person in heart we’re right with them.
NB – it seems after writing this that the lads took the fight to survive up a notch. We’re privileged in the hell that is administration that we’ve got such a committed management team and playing squad. The fight to stay up isn’t over yet, by any stretch but it is in our hands. Let’s grab that opportunity like we did on Tuesday. We’re with you lads – every step of the way.
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