Step Forward – Callum

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I know this international break has only been for two weeks but for me personally, it already feels like a lifetime. I’ve not seen us in action since Nottingham Forest at home due to work. So with a clear weekend ahead I can’t wait to get to Euston and head over to West London.

Brentford is definitely one of the better London away trips and as the Bees come to the end of their Griffin Park life it’s an even more appealing away trip.

This will be my third visit to Griffin Park, with one loss and one draw already chalked up I’m hoping Paul Cook can go one better than Gary Caldwell and bring three points back up the West Coast mainline – and there’s every chance they will.

Although not pretty the 1-0 win over Rotherham at the start of the month left Latics in a relatively strong position in the table. This coming week although not being seen as truly crucial, could well have a big impact on our season.

We’ve three games against sides that are arguably fairly matched with us, with two of those games at home it’s important we capitalise on that and continue to build on our fantastic early season form.

This will be the first week of the season where the squad will need to be fully utilised, with three matches in six days expect to see starts for the likes of James Vaughan, Callum McManaman and Josh Garner at some point.

Going back to Saturday and the trip to Brentford throws up a number of interesting side stories. I was speaking to Billy Grant of the Beesotted fanzine and podcast earlier this week and Brentford are exuding confidence at the minute.

Four seasons after reaching the Championship Brentford have established themselves as a solid, exciting to watch young side. There’s a lot of historic similarities between our two clubs and I would certainly take four years of Championship stability, like Brentford have had recently.

Can they take that next step up and reach the Premier League? Who knows, but Latics will need to be at their best on Saturday to come away from Griffin Park with the points.

Our record in the capital is as woeful as it’s ever been and we do seem to struggle in compact grounds like Loftus Road and Griffin Park. Paul Cook knows this though, and with most of his squad sticking together during the international break I’m sure he’s been working on improving that London record on the training ground.

At the last count over 750 of us were travelling down to London on Saturday. Another fantastic following that I’m sure the lads would appreciate, if we could swell those numbers to the 1000 mark it could be one of those legendary Wigan away days.

NB – After the Wigan Post went to print it was announced that Gavin Massey would be out for the rest of the year with injury, that appearance for Callum McManman may be sooner than we expected.

First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 14th September 2018

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