If you could pick five things to not happen on the morning of a big game then I reckon that players going on strike and big transfer deals falling through would be contenders (even if they are made up). It was only yesterday that Bobby was saying that he’d rather be talking about football than about off-field matters and ‘pop!’ as if by magic, we wake up to a sulking Honduran and Villarreal trying to sneak a couple of extra pennies out of the Whelan coffers. But, hey, it’s January, this is Wigan Athletic, what did you really expect?
Of course, with this being Wigan Athletic, it’s hard to know what to expect this season. Thanks to Alan Hansen’s ghost-writer I’ve now realised that no one has conceded more goals away from home than Latics but that they’ve still managed as many wins on their travels as Man City. You want contradictions? We’re a mess of them.
If we’re going off past history, Latics haven’t had much joy at Report park, there’ve been good games, some close games and a fair sprinkling of controversy, but it’s rare that Latics come away with the points. But, when last week isn’t a good measure of how the team will perform, what’s the point in worrying about what happened last year, or the year before?
Even so, the game at the DW a few weeks back finished at one apiece and you could do worse than shoving a couple of quid on something similar tonight. Both sides are capable of being terrible on any given day, but I reckon that they’ll be motivated for this one and keen to avoid embarrassment.
So despite a general air of unpredictability from both sides, you can have a fair guess at how the game might pan out. The clever money would be on Latics trying to be patient and build from the back whilst Blackburn take a more robust approach and Big Sam wishes Bolton would sell him Kevin Davies. It’ll probably get bogged down in midfield and result in some long ball tennis between the centre halves, we’ll a good to bed warm in the glow of having just seen an old fashioned northern derby.
The game means more than that for both sides, mind, the threat of a relegation battle is still real for both sides and, for Latics at least, this game marks a make or break period in Bobby’s first season. All-in, you’d expect home advantage to give Rovers the edge
But a draw would represent a good solid start to proceedings, a win a massive stride forward. But don’t expect too much other than for me to be back here on Friday saying that the Everton game represents a chance for Latics to start on a run that could define their season.
It’ll be less painful that way.
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