The contrast between last season’s Wigan Athletic and this is vast and in many ways unbelievable. There are positivity levels flowing through the club that haven’t been present since the march to promotion in the spring of 2016. Credit must go to Paul Cook and his staff for their ability to build that positive environment in such a short space of time. Of course results always help, if we had three losses in the first three games as oppose to three wins I imagine the environment would be very different but that’s part of what Cook has brought to the table.
Latics have improved in every game so far this season, the win against a strong Bury side was as impressive as it was important. Bury have spent big for League One and will be expected to have a better season than last time around, when they only just avoided relegation.
The first half was a bit more competitive although Latics always looked dangerous but there was only one side in after the break. Cook’s side looked like they could score with every break and central to that were Michael Jacobs and Nick Powell. Powell was instrumental in the first three goals and it’s imperative that Latics manage to keep hold of him in the next few weeks.
Jacobs who struggled at times in the Championship looks a class above this league, and looks like he will thrive back in League One. Add to that Ivan Toney who was a constant presence up-front and Will Grigg on the bench, Latics attacking abilities should be the envy of League One.
Although I’ve spent the first part of the article extolling the virtues of this Wigan Athletic side and in particular Paul Cook’s management of the side it’s still early days. Although it’s easy to get carried away with the start we’ve made we must remember the last time we were at this level we had a more than average start and yet ran away with the league after January. So it isn’t always the team who starts the season well who finishes it, but regardless it’s always good to make a positive start and Cook and his team have definitely done that.
That positive vibe running through the club looks like it will head over to the other side of Lancashire on Saturday and a trip to Boundary Park (Ice Station Zebra) to face Oldham Athletic. Over 1400 tickets for our trip to Oldham have been sold already, with a first allocation sold out.
John Sheridan’s side are without a win in three games, conceding seven goals in the process. But we know from the last time we were at this level just how dangerous sides like Oldham can be. The other Latics will no doubt raise their game, and will be hoping to get their season up and running.
If we can keep up the standard of our opening three games we should have more than enough to get a win at Oldham. Consistency is the key at this level and Paul Cook has already spoken of getting that consistency building throughout the side, another win on the road would be most welcome ahead of a tricky looking home match against Portsmouth next week.
First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 18th August 2017
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