12th Man: The Only Way is Up

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Callum Connolly

The Only Way is Up

Two wins in two weeks, a money spinning TV tie at Manchester United on the horizon, debut goals and new contracts being signed. I said on Saturday there had been a sea change following the win over Burton and it’s not hard to see why. The atmosphere at the club has changed drastically from the Christmas period.

We’re not out of the woods by any stretch and we’re still in serious trouble at the bottom end of the table but it feels like we may have turned a corner in recent weeks. The win over Burton was much needed, I hate the term six-pointer but if any game was a six-pointer Burton away was definitely that.

If we had lost Saturday’s game we would have been nine points behind Burton and again a side low on confidence would have yet another dent to a fragile state of confidence. The win was inspired in no small part to a little known Everton loanee, so little known that many Wigan Athletic supporters including myself were asking ‘Who’? Before kick-off.

If you didn’t know Callum Connolly’s name before kick-off you certainly knew it at full-time, two brilliant headers made it a dream debut for Wigan Athletic for the young Scouser. Warren Joyce’s first signing of the transfer window Jakob Haugaard put in another assured performance, those two loan signings have made a big impact in their two games.

The other big news of the week surrounds Sam Morsy and his contract extension, the whole situation regarding Morsy is mystifying. We’ll never know what really went on between him and Gary Caldwell in the summer but he’s definitely made an impact since his return to the club and it’s good to see he’ll be staying at Wigan Athletic.

With a midfield of Power, Perkins, Gilbey, Morsy, Gomez, Macdonald, Jacobs and Flores provides somewhat of an embarrassment of riches for Warren Joyce and again another indication of why we shouldn’t be down at the bottom end of the table.

Next up on Saturday it’s Brentford, the last time we faced Brentford they were flying high towards the top end of the table and looked to be in with a decent shout of the play-offs. Since then they’ve dropped off the pace considerably but should still have more than enough to stay in the Championship. Last time out Gary Caldwell’s side were unlucky not to take all three points from Griffin Park. A similar performance this time out would be most welcome.

Things are looking up at the moment, we need to keep that momentum up now and get ourselves higher up the table. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.

Final word this week goes to Gary Caldwell who is back in management with Chesterfield, it’s good to see Latics former captain back in management if a little strange seeing him at Chesterfield. Certainly so soon after that amazing League One season last year. Caldwell impressed many last season with his approach and attitude to management, and although it didn’t work out this year for one reason or another I’m sure he’ll become a favourite at Chesterfield if he can get them out of trouble.

Sean Livesey

First published in the Wigan Evening Post, Friday 20th January 2017.

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