Must win?

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Wigan Athletic have played five games since that opening day victory against Cardiff and in the process have lost all five conceding ten goals in the process – not a good record whichever way you dress it up.

I think there was a sea change on Saturday following that second half capitulation at Loftus Road.

There was a sea change in the attitude to the management, it felt like a return to some of the dark days of last season. Paul Cook alluded to as much in his post-match comments when he said that someone else will be standing in his place if results don’t pick up.

It feels bizarre to be discussing a managerial change so early in the season, in fact we’ve another match left in August yet and are only two wins away from Fulham in fifth place but so bad has the season start been it’s something that for once isn’t just limited to the more excitable among our support.

There are genuine reasons for concern at the start we’ve made, in how similar it is to elements of last season. We seem to be making the same mistakes, having the same issues on capitalising on our pressure and the same problems with getting back in to games when we fall behind.

There are mitigating factors of course – we’ve had horrific injury luck for the opening month of the season, a lot of the players Paul Cook would want to field simply haven’t been available to him. The new signings haven’t had the time required to get fully up to speed with our style of play (or lack of it) and as a result those partnerships that the manager has spoken of haven’t had time to develop.

Despite this – there are always mitigating factors, for every football club. It’s about over coming them, and we haven’t got close over the last few weeks. Last week I spoke about indifference, mainly due to the fact we were still in the midst of the summer holidays and we had two eminently winnable games coming last week. Unfortunately we lost those and the situation has taken on an all more serious feel to it.

I stood by Paul Cook last season and I still think he’s the right man for Wigan Athletic but time is fast running out for him and his team. We need results and we need them soon, Barnsley is simply must win for Cook. I fear if we fail to win the man who has done so much to lift the gloom at Wigan Athletic that had surrounded the club in 2017 will be given his marching orders.

Sean Livesey

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