So it comes down to one game, one final afternoon. Not promotion thankfully – I’m not sure my nerves could have coped with something of that magnitude being on the line.
Instead it’s the nice to have, but not essential title up for grabs on our final Saturday afternoon fling with League One. As with everything this season it’s in our hands, it’s been in our hands since that excellent afternoon in Milton Keynes last August and with any luck Latics will be tasting the champagne come Saturday evening in Doncaster.
There’s been some debate this week about the biggest League following for Wigan Athletic in recent times and although no definite answer was offered, this Saturday’s trip across to Doncaster must be up there. Over 4000 Wiganer’s will be travelling over the Pennines, many of those suitably lubricated thanks to the early evening kick-off.
Last Saturday felt terribly flat, which was a shame for the lads on the pitch as it was no crime to start to run out of steam against Wimbledon. Certainly after the long season we’ve had. A Wimbledon side who as it goes were fighting against relegation at the time.
The fact we could have won the title if the referee had correctly awarded a penalty grates even more – but still if we do manage to close out the season with a win at Doncaster what a famous Wigan Athletic away day that could be and no one will remember the draw with Wimbledon.
I’m sure Paul Cook was hoping he could have named some of the players un-lucky not to feature more in the remaining games of the season but with everything still to play for I imagine it’ll be the same starting eleven as we’ve seen for most of the season.
That will be frustrating for the likes of Alex Bruce, Devante Cole, Jamie Walker, Donervon Daniels, Noel Hunt etc. But at the same time the lads who have played the bulk of the games have achieved something fantastic this season and you can’t disagree with Paul Cook’s approach.
Some will think a win at Doncaster is a given but we’ve an awful record there over the last 30 years. A win isn’t guaranteed by any stretch but if we can pull it off it will cap one of the most enjoyable seasons in living memory.
Thoughts will inevitably turn to the futures of Paul Cook and many of the promotion squad in the next few weeks but they can wait. One last effort is needed to get the lads over the line and seal that title for a third consecutive season at this level.
For one final time this season, come on Latics!
First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 4th May 2018