‘Let us never speak of that again’ – That was my first reaction after leaving Deepdale a couple of weeks ago, well the first reaction that could be printed in a family newspaper that is. That as trivial as it may seem is probably the approach that is needed from the Latics faithful now. Things couldn’t have gone much worse in that game, and there’s no point dwelling on it now.
One very poor showing and result shouldn’t take away from what a fantastic first three months of the season it has been for Paul Cook’s side. Paul Cook will have been as disappointed as any of us with the performance at Preston and hopefully with two weeks in the bank thanks to the international break what went wrong will have been analysed, worked on and pushed out of the players systems ahead of the visit of West Brom on Saturday.
Latics couldn’t really ask for a more difficult game to return to action in, West Brom alongside Stoke were made promotion favourites at the start of the season after their relegation from the Premier Leauge. Despite a shaky first couple of games the Baggies are now showing the sort of form that made them favourites amongst the bookies and pundits.
Darren Moore’s side have fire power all over the pitch and the lads will have to be at their best to keep out a side who have scored a startling 31 goals so far this season. With West Brom’s biggest away following in over six years set to travel up the M6 on Saturday it should make for an excellent atmosphere and hopefully the ideal environment for the lads to bounce back and put that horrible afternoon in Preston behind them. Knowing Paul Cook as we do I’m sure he’ll have the lads well up for this one.
There are injury concerns for Paul Cook with James Vaughan and Will Grigg side lined, it will be interesting to see if Cook decides to push Windass in to a more central position or start with Joe Garner. Callum McManaman must also be pushing for a start after a stop start first few months back at Wigan Athletic. One man who knows more about McManaman than others is Greame Jones, it was a surprise to see him leave Belgium following the World Cup but the pull of day to day involvement in the game must have been strong.
Jonesy along with Roberto is one of those rare breeds in football, someone who was both a legend as a player and then as a coach. There aren’t many people who played division three football for Wigan go on to win an FA Cup and come third in a World Cup. In fact I can only think of his good friend Roberto who achieved similar.
His service for Wigan Athletic should never be forgotten and I still harbour hopes of the sharp football brain and deadly goalscorer from Gateshead becoming our manager one day. But that debate is certainly for another day, as nice as it will be to see Greame back at the Dave Whelan Stadium on Saturday I hope he has a miserable afternoon.
Let’s put Preston behind us, remember the good so far this season and get behind the lads in noise and numbers on Saturday.
First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 19th October 2018.