The bigger picture

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After the defeat against Sheffield Wednesday it was important Latics bounced back and went in to the international break on the back of a positive result and what a way to do it.

In horrific conditions Leam Richardson’s side utterly dominated proceedings at a ground we hadn’t won at since 2004.

Seventeen years is a long time and although we hadn’t played Gillingham for a lot of those intervening years, the fact we hadn’t got a positive result at the Priestfield on our more recent visits to League One show just how difficult a place it is to visit.

Returning to the summit thanks to Sunderland slipping up at Portsmouth made it all the better.

Big credit goes to the 500 Wiganer’s sat in the rain who celebrated Power and Keane’s goals with such force. It’s an away day that I bet many won’t want to repeat, but one that will go down in Latics folklore.

I keep preaching the need for patience and seeing the bigger picture in how much progress we’ve made in such a short space of time, but even I’m astounded at the start we’ve made.

Leam and the coaching staff deserve every credit for the way they’ve managed to get everyone up to speed so quickly.

The 2-0 reverse against Crewe in the Pizza cup is here nor there. Another game played in awful conditions but a good opportunity to get minutes in for those on the fringes alongside the latest academy graduates.

I imagine Leam will be more disappointed that some of the senior pros didn’t make the best of that opportunity than the result itself. But hey, a win against Shrewsbury next month and we progress.

Not that many will be that interested, a fine competition for the lower league clubs ruined by the introduction of the Premier League U23 sides.

So it’s another international break right at the time when you don’t want a break. I’d much rather be in the pub on Saturday than Tuesday, but that’s just me.

With just the Irish and Northern Irish contingent of McClean, Keane and Jones away it should be a good opportunity for the majority of the squad and first team to take a breather ahead of another non stop period of fixtures.

Beginning back with our friends up in Horwich, 4000 Wiganer’s will be making the short trip up through New Springs and Aspull. With the home side well up for it it should make for a good atmosphere. The sold out signs went up at the DW ticket office earlier this week a full ten days before the match.

This led to one Bolton fan to proclaim that ‘You wouldn’t have sold that if it wasn’t thirty minutes away. If it was three hours away you wouldn’t have sold that’ well yes Einstein. But at least we’re now being criticised for being so close to Horwich rather than having no support.

The last time we won at the Reebok/Macron/Unibol was when Gary Caldwell and James McArthur gave us victory. A whole nine years ago. If ever there was a season to turn that record on it’s head this is it.

Sean Livesey

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