Stick with it

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International breaks are really quite tedious aren’t they?

I don’t share the same hatred of International Football that some do. The international programme is definitely an important part of the international calendar, it’s how it’s scheduled that’s the issue.

To be finishing for the international break before the first month of the season is over is ridiculous and makes me long for the days of League One where we would play on through the break. Some work has been done by Uefa with the Nations League replacing meaningless friendlies but there’s definitely a stop start feel to this season.

With Fulham being moved to a Friday night and Hull pricing out a lot of families I won’t be the only one feeling a distinct lack of football this early in the season. Roll on those cold autumn days and some regular football for us to get our teeth in to again.

Speaking of getting our teeth in to something, Paul Cook and those players not travelling with their international sides will have been getting their teeth in to some extra training over the last ten days to truly get this season back on track as we head in to the Autumn.

Paul Cook and the management team spoke about letting Latics gel, which as we know from our Premier League days under Paul Jewell and Roberto Martinez was always a constant theme. With a club like ours it means a big turnover of players each season as players depart and players arrive. It’s a constant juggling act to get those players in to a succinct team – hopefully the international break has helped that.

As my esteemed fellow columnist Caddy pointed out some respectability was restored with that point against Barnsley a couple of weeks ago, and although it wasn’t the win that many myself included said was essential it at least stopped the rot. I doubt that it’s done much to reduce the pressure on Paul Cook mind you.

The gaffer alluded to as much in his pre-match comments earlier this week, and although he’s railed back from his position after the QPR match where he stated someone else would be standing in the Latics dugout unless performances improve there’s still clearly some tension surrounding the management team.

As I’ve said in this column over the last few weeks I still have faith in Paul Cook, he’s quite right when he points out he’s the only manager to keep Wigan Athletic in the Championship other than Uwe Rosler and Paul Jewell and he’s quite right to point out that consistency is key to improving our current position. But he and the club hierarchy will also be aware just how poor the start of the season has been, especially when you consider the financial backing offered by the new owners.

Looking ahead to the next few games there are opportunities for points, and opportunities for us to climb the table. None more so than the Hull match. Hull under Grant McCann have had a difficult start to the season – sitting just one point ahead of ourselves in the table. If there’s a match to re-start our season and get over that horrific away form it’s this one.

The only way to get that particular monkey off our backs again is by winning away games, we managed it in the most difficult of circumstances at Leeds last season. Let’s see if a trip to Humberside can help us to get over it this season. A much fitter squad including Welsh debutant Kieffer Moore and the returning Anthony Pilkington will travel across the M62 and if we can get a win it would set us up nicely to start climbing that table again.

Stick with the lads says Paul Cook and that’s a message we can all get on-board with.

Sean Livesey

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