Exceeding expectations

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Six days, three games, six points. Not a bad return by any stretch. Especially when you consider that two of those wins came at home, extending an excellent record at the DW Stadium and for a short time pushing us up to an impressive third place in the league.

The start to the season has been beyond all expectations and Paul Cook after such impressive work last season has continued it this tern with an impressive round of recruitment, consistently pleasing football and more important than that – results.

Last time out in the Championship Gary Caldwell’s side took until the 27th September to register two wins in the league. This time out we’ve won five games already. Results are such an important part of what Cook and the lads are doing, under Caldwell we looked a decent side at times but didn’t have the results to back that up. Now we do.

The match against Bristol City was your classic cagey affair. Neither side had much in terms of chances but Latics showed that killer instinct with Nick Powell once again on the scoresheet. He’s made such a difference this season and with the long running takeover saga hopefully drawing to a close soon, we have to hope a new contract for Powell isn’t far away.

It’s on to Norwich this weekend, not usually a happy hunting ground for Wigan Athletic but with the form we’re in who knows what could happen. A point at Carrow Road would be an excellent result and give us further confidence ahead of the big one at Deepdale in a couple of weeks’ time.

Meanwhile as reported by the Wigan Post this week, it seems ex-England international Steven Caulker is training with the club in view to earning himself a contract. Although Caulker has suffered with his personal life and documented gambling problems in recent years if there is anyone who can get the best out of him it would be Paul Cook.

He’s already shown he has a way with wayward players such as Nick Powell and Darron Gibson. Add Caulker to that list and you’re potentially getting a Premier League class centre back for free, just at a time when we’re about to lose Dan Burn to Brighton.

I was glad to see Sean Dyche and Burnley get their first win of the season last weekend, not because I share any sort of affinity to Burnley. But because I believe if Burnley ever did despose of Sean Dyche Paul Cook would be right at the top of any potential list of replacements.

When you think about it Paul Cook comes from similar stock to Dyche, he plays an exciting brand of football, gets the best out of young British players and is an ex-Burnley player. So for our sakes let’s hope that lot from the wrong side of Lancashire continue to do well this season.

First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 28th September 2018

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