It comes to something when the most disappointing aspect of the opening month of the season was a draw against Wolves Under 21’s in the Pizza Cup and a subsequent penalty shoot out defeat.
There’s no point spending time worrying about Tuesday, the real business of the evening came off the pitch and as promised Talal Al Hammad and the Phoenix 21 group delivered a squad ready to compete for a return to the Championship. Three signings including the returning Curtis Tilt surely give Wigan Athletic one of the strongest squads in League One. In every single position there are now two or more players fighting for every position.
These aren’t reserve players, or youth players they are players such as Stephen Humphries, Gwion Edwards, Tom Pearce – the list goes on. Players that in any other team in the division would walk straight in to those sides. The new owners declared at the on set of the takeover that they would be judged not on words, but actions and so far despite it being such early days they are absolutely living up to that motto.
The results keep on coming as an admittedly below par Latics got one over Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon and took all three points from the South coast side for the first time this season. The sign of a good side is one that can still pick up points, even when not at their best.
It’s such a shame that Fleetwood has been postponed as momentum is a great thing in football, not to mention many beers on the Fylde Coast that is also a great thing. Still a Tuesday night taking in the illuminations and a trip to Fleetwood for the tics doesn’t have that bad a ring to it either.
So as we take a break this weekend and instead look ahead to Doncaster we can look back on an opening month of the season that surpassed all expectations. Many people suggested a midtable finish with a play-off push would be the limit of our expectations this season.
I think with the squad assembled now that’s the bare minimum. With the likes of Joe Bennett and James McClean there’s Premier League experience throughout the side, add in a load of Championship experience and some bright young stars from League One and the squad is looking as strong as you could expect.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, we’ve made a great start but now we need to keep that up across a whole season. If anyone can manage that I’m sure it’s Leam and the rest of the management team.
We’ve been so lucky, a year ago we were fighting our very existence now we’re fighting for a very different prize indeed. It could have been so different if any number of parties had had their way.
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