As first weeks go it’s not been a bad start to the season for Paul Cook and his Wigan Athletic side. Not bad at all, an excellent opening day win at Milton Keynes was followed up by a hard earned victory over Blackpool in the League Cup.
Clearly not a competition that is at the top of Latics list of priorities but a win is a win and the team that earned that win will be more pleasing than the manner of it.
Paul Cook elected to make eleven changes to his side giving opportunities to fringe players such as Jordan Flores, those returning to fitness like Will Grigg and Donervon Daniels and young lads like Luke Burgess, Chris Merrie, Sam Stubbs and Owen Evans amongst others. It wasn’t a comfortable win for Cook’s youngsters, Blackpool looked a strong side and probably should have taken it to extra time but the win will do them a world of good.
Although it was a different side in each match, that’s two wins in two difficult matches now. It’s very early days of course but Latics looked excellent against Milton Keynes and with better finishing could have been two or three goals ahead despite being down to ten men for a large part of the match.
Saturday would have been the first time a lot of Wiganer’s had seen a Latics side under Cook and I imagine most would have been pleased with what they saw.
There was fluidity to our play, we played decent football without ever over complicating it, looked solid in defence and tried to use our width at every opportunity. Nick Powell getting on the score sheet was a massive plus, less so the flare up of his injury but with any luck the management will have got him off early enough.
So all in all it looks like it’s been a decent start, let’s not get carried away though. Big spending Bury (comparatively speaking) are Sundays opponents and seemed to always know how to get round us last time we were at this level.
There’s also the small matter of the transfer window closing to negotiate. I imagine if Cook managed to keep hold of both Grigg and Powell when the window closes he will be delighted. That’s easier said than done of course and there’s still the futures of Max Power, Jack Byrne and Omar Bogle to resolve yet.
First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 11th August 2017
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