The magical 50!

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50 points, not the old school 40 points of Premier League yesteryear but 50.

That’s what Shaun Maloney had pinpointed as the target for remaining in League One, in this most unique of seasons.

In recent weeks, certainly since the turn of the year we’ve made huge strides in that direction with some really important wins against sides both at the top and bottom of the division.

We’ve had a number of losses as well, but any well thinking individual would realise that is a consequence of a young side. Many of those playing their first season of senior football.

The loss to Wycombe last Tuesday was disappointing, not just because of the loss but because of the sheer dominance that the lads had had at Adams Park.

To come away with nothing must have hurt, if we’ve been good at one thing this season it’s been bouncing back. Could we do it against play off chasing Blackpool?

You could say it was written in the stars, if anyone sums up our new journey or rather new purpose as a football club it’s players like Scott Smith.

Not only a Wiganer but a Latics fan to boot, we’ve not had many of those over the years.

Smith formerly of my old stomping ground of Hawkley Hall High was farmed out to Torquay on loan during the latter days of Leak Richardson’s time as manager.

He came back after an un-successful loan period and asked Maloney if he could train with the first team.

To say Smith has proven himself is an understatement. He’s been a consistent player this year, alongside the likes of Babba Adeeko and Charlie Hughes he’s a flag bearer for that academy that has delivered so much to the club over the last few years.

For him to score the winner, in a Lancashire derby that virtually secures another season of League One football for the club is the stuff of fairy tales.

Latics looked the part against Blackpool, incisive passing and quick attacking play was clear for all to see and maybe just maybe we’re starting to see the side grow in confidence.

It’s been said a thousand times but needs repeating. Shaun Maloney, Graham Barrow, Gregor Rioch, Stephen Crainey, Max Rogers, the board and everyone else involved in the club from top to bottom have worked wonders this season.

To have earned 58 points in the middle of March (8 taken away by the EFL) with a side made up of free transfers, academy graduates and players we couldn’t move on is an unbelievable achievement.

Planning in earnest for next season should begin now and with news of Mike Danson’s meeting with Maloney over the International break we should get to learn more about what next season will look like very soon.

Sean Livesey

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