It never rains but it pours

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It never rains but it pours, or so the saying goes – Paul Cook is adamant that rain is going to stop soon and brighter skies are around the corner. As it is it was another Saturday another defeat, though I doubt many Wiganer’s will be shedding a tear at departing the FA Cup so soon this season.

It simply has to be about survival this year, no heroics to match up with 2013, 2014 and 2018 for Latics this time out. It shows the difference that a year can make. Last year we were flying in the league and our league form transferred seamlessly to the FA Cup as we put Bournemouth to the sword and should have won without the need for a replay.

The game at the Hawthorns followed a well worn path, we dominated for the first 25 minutes. Had numerous chances to take the lead, failed to take them and before you know it West Brom take the lead and we’re heading out. It’s been the story of our season, certainly since the end of November. It’s a mental block and one we need to get over before it’s too late.

But instead of looking back let’s look forward. Latics desperately need to recapture that form of last season, that spirit that attacking know how. Paul Cook has spoken about this transfer window being one of the most important the club will have experienced. It’s clear that we are lacking in a number of areas and as a result our form has tailed off dramatically over the last few months.

Latics have made a quiet but solid start to the window. Last season’s player of the season Nathan Byrne has signed a new contract which ties him to the club for another two years. Whilst Anthony Pilkington, a proven attacker with extensive Championship and Premier League experience has arrived. Could Pilkington be the key to turning our season around? Time will tell, but if he can help to provide the goals we so desperately need he’ll have been an astute signing.

More worrying news has emerged from the exit door at the Dave Whelan Stadium. Numerous internet rumours have been gathering pace all week in regards to Will Grigg’s future. If those rumours are to be believed a move to Sunderland is imminent.

You can see why Sunderland see Grigg as such an attractive proposition, he is deadly at League One level and at 27 years of age still has plenty of game time in the bank. But equally those are some of the reasons why he should be remaining at Wigan Athletic. Grigg has spearheaded two title winning campaigns now and is still our most deadly finisher at the club.

He has been unlucky with injuries again this season, as he was in 2016/17 but his class is clear and I would be extremely disappointed if the club were actively looking to sell Grigg. He still remains our best goal threat and with an extended run of games and some decent service, I believe both Grigg and Latics luck could change.

Equally since that injury he has been in and out of the side and may feel personally his time at Wigan is coming to an end. I hope that isn’t the case and that Sunderland’s approach is rejected out of hand. All eyes on a certain Mr Cook at Euxton on Friday for an answer to that one.

We’re in the mire at the moment, there’s no doubt about that but we’re not finished yet. Not by a long stretch, Saturday’s match with Aston Villa seems a daunting prospect but scratch below the surface and Villa’s form is patchy at best. We need a positive result from somewhere to turn around our season.

Could Saturday be that? There’s talk of the infamous meet and greets making a return this Saturday. They worked a treat back in that glorious run of 2011/12 where we blew everyone in front of us away and showed that – although we may be a small club when we stick together no-one can compete with us. It’s that kind of attitude and approach that we need to recapture this season. As I said last week there’s no point shouting abuse at young lads from the terraces are on social media. Let’s get behind them, let’s remind them what we’re about and let’s recapture some of that famous Latics spirit.

Sean Livesey

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