Start as we mean to go on

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It was a case of start as you mean to go on in 2018 for Latics.

After Nick Powell put the Latics in front against Northampton with just five minutes on the clock you could be forgiven for thinking another demolition job was on the way. As it was 1-0 was how it would stay despite the best efforts of Paul Cook’s forward line.

The frustration of finding a goal keeper in inspired form like Northampton on New Year’s day and against Shrewsbury on Boxing day is something that we’re getting used to. At the end of the day all victories count, regardless of the scoreline and although it was by a narrow margin it was still pleasing to get a win after two home matches where we failed to win.

With the new year festivities out of the way it’s time to look at the dreaded transfer window – many will disagree with me but I think it’s more about conservation this January than revolution.

We’ve had two January transfer windows in recent years where wholesale changes were made that arguably damaged the make up of the squad and contributed to our downfalls. We already supposedly have the strongest squad in the division, with the likes of Alex Bruce, Ryan Colclough, David Perkins and Max Power in reserve with Craig Morgan & Shaun MacDonald to come back from injury too.

Arguably we could do with some fresh firepower up front and perhaps another winger but other than that I’m really struggling to see what we need. With financial restraint the order of the day at least until the mooted takeover has been completed.

Speaking of financial matters, as ever Latics accounts for 2016/17 made fascinating reading the other day. On one side a sizeable profit was posted for the first time since 2014. On the other a worry of what will make up for the shortfall in income now the parachute payments have ended. Latics really need fresh investment from somewhere. Simply to keep the club solvent if nothing more. The results should once again credit Dave Whelan and his family for keeping the club afloat, contrary to what many Wiganer’s will tell you. He hasn’t creamed millions off the club like the Oystons at Blackpool. He’s kept us as a going concern for the best part of 23 years.

He may have made mistakes but without Dave Whelan Wigan Athletic as we know it simply wouldn’t exist.

Anyway back to the football and it’s Bournemouth away in the cup this weekend. Last time we played Bournemouth in the FA Cup we were treated to a rare Mauro Boselli goal on arguably the coldest night I’ve ever had watching Latics. You don’t need me to tell you what happened after that.

It’s startling to see how the club’s have effectively swapped places since that match in January 2013. I’d love to see us get the win on Saturday and progress in the cup, but I suspect Latics may well make a number of changes with the league in mind.

Either way it’ll be fascinating to see how we size up against Premier League opposition again.

Sean Livesey

First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 5th January 2018.

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