On the road again

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What kind of performance on the road will be this time for Latics? Will it be a Charlton type accomplished smash and grab or more like Shrewsbury or Peterborough, will we receive a sucker punch off a fellow promotion challenger? Can we win a game away from home without Sam “bites yer legs” Morsy in the team? I always liken him to Animal out of The Muppet Show for some reason, full of energy but a bit of a nutter.

If October carries on the way September ended then I’m sure we will be fine but we do need to up our points tally against teams in the upper echelons. Scunny have for a while been a top six side in the division, Southend are fast improving, Gillingham have lost Bradley Dack and are struggling but it’s still a fair old trek on a Tuesday night.

Yet, what about Blackpool? Sure, we’ve had fun there in recent times but they are undoubtedly a decent side and Gary Bowyer deserves massive credit for the results he has produced under what might be considered trying circumstances at best. They’ve just added human hobgoblin Jay Spearing to their squad as well.

Of course, we also have a home game against Blackburn Rovers at the end of the month, which is already looking massive. I don’t think there’s been much animosity between the clubs over the years, arguably because we’ve both got Bolton to vent spleen at, or much so Burnley in the case of Rovers. The rivalry will naturally be cranked up a bit this year I’m sure given recent history and our supposed joint mantle of title challengers.

Blackburn aren’t exactly running away with the division as some pundits were forecasting but they are too big a club with too strong a squad to be overlooked from proceedings and I fully expect them to be pushing a lot harder before long.

It will be interesting to look at the league table in a month’s time compared to now and I forecast several changes as the points averages start to falter. From our perspective, if we can pick up somewhere between 10 to 12 points out of the next 15 then that sort of pace should really stretch the rest of the chasing pack.

First we head east, and the most interesting fact about Scunthorpe (from a sad groundhopper perspective like mine) is that they are moving ground from Glanford Park in a couple of years to a new stadium. Older fans will consider that their current ground is in itself a “new” one and recall trips to The Old Show Ground with 7-2 scorelines and Ian Botham playing up front for The Iron.

With that in mind, I’m sure that Saturday will present a stern test but here’s hoping the home team get a duck and the ‘Tics score so many that we can declare the game over before tea with a solid all-round(er) performance. Sorry for the poor gags, this is just not cricket!

Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 6th October 2017

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