I said after the defeat to QPR it was important we bounced back on our own pitch, and Latics did just that on a Saturday with a well earned three points against Paul Warne’s Rotherham.
Our record at home in recent months, and since Paul Cook took over as manager is nothing short of remarkable. We’ve now gone ten games unbeaten at home – since the heartbreaking FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Southampton. But looking at a longer period of time, we’ve only lost two of the last 30 at home. That is a brilliant record, and although it’s early days we look well placed to extend that record this season.
Saturday’s game couldn’t be further away from the first two home games. Rather than Latics racing in to an early lead, as they did against Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest Cook’s side had to bide their time. You always felt that we would get the goal that our performance deserved, as with previous weeks we created numerous chances. Josh Windass, Nick Powell and Will Grigg all going close.
The gaffer’s substiutions on Saturday definitely turned the game on it’s head. James Vaughan and Callum McManaman won’t have played as many minutes as they would have liked to this season, and McManaman in particular has faced a bit of unfair criticisim. But Callum’s eye for an opening is what directly led to Saturday’s goal.
If you can get him fit and firing like the Callum of a few seasons back he’ll be a great asset for us this season.
One of the downsides of our return to the second tier is the return of international breaks, it was a positive to go in to the international break on the back of a win which cemented a very positive start to the season. But I imagine Paul Cook and the players would rather be playing this weekend than not.
Ten points from our opening games could have been even more, we’re four points off the league leaders and have a significantly strengthened squad.
The feel of positivity around the club is clear and long may that continue. I’m still very much in the survival must be our first target camp, but there’s no doubting Wigan Athletic have made an excellent start back to life in the Championship.
First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 7th September 2018
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