History repeating

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Paul Cook and Paul Jewell

It’s been a while since Latics made a start to the season like this one, un-beaten in the league with three wins out of three. Four out of five if we’re to include the cup win over Blackpool, even the cup defeat to Aston Villa on Tuesday hasn’t seemed to dent the confidence and positivity flowing through the corridors of the DW.

It was another Scouse Paul, by the name of Jewell who last achieved a start like this. Winning the opening four league games of the season on our march to the League One (then Division Two) trophy. Of course it is still very early in Paul Cook’s reign but the comparisons are startling.

The kind of football employed by Cook at the moment at least is reminiscent of the best of the Jewell era, the pressing up the pitch is high, the speed in which the ball is transferred to the attacking players and the fluidity throughout the team reminds me very much of the early 2000’s.

Cook’s style of play may be slightly more refined than Jewell’s and there’s no two man strike partnership ala Jason Roberts and Nathan Ellington but the attacking three of Toney, Jacobs and Powell that has been employed in the opening weeks is every bit as effective and that’s without mentioning Will Grigg.

Going back to the two Scouse Paul’s, if Cook achieves even half as much as his predecessor did we’ll be doing well.

We’ve another week of the transfer window left to go and hopefully the only players we lose are those on the fringes of the squad. It was interesting to see Max Power come in from the cold against Aston Villa on Tuesday, was that a burying of the hatchet from Cook or more the opportunity to get Power in the shop window?

Young Max must be questioning his stance now, seeing his teammates make such a good start to the season whilst he sits it out with the kids. An understandable way to get yourself a move if the clubs were queuing up for his signature but I’m not entirely convinced they are. Compare that with Nick Powell, a player on his day who is clearly too good for this league.

Nick has surprised everyone by getting on with his job quietly and professionally and at the moment is central to all of Wigan Athletic’s good play. If he is still here come September 1st is another matter, but his attitude and approach for the start of the season should be commended.

This weekend sees the visit of Portsmouth and probably our toughest encounter so far, Pompey should be there or thereabouts come the end of the season and Paul Cook’s former side will be desperate to get one over on their former manager. Tuesday’s defeat to Aston Villa shouldn’t have much bearing on this result, it will be a completely different team that takes to the pitch on Saturday, and one that should still be buzzing after that comprehensive win over Oldham.

More of the same on Saturday would be good lads!

Sean Livesey

First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 25th August 2017


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