Another week passes, another week without any firm update on the takeover and another week without any points for Wigan Athletic.
I feel like a broken record but I imagine no so more than John Sheridan does – Saturday’s match with Northampton was supposed to be when the tide turned for Wigan Athletic. But having a look at Saturday’s squad, once again decimated by injury that favourites tag would soon disappear.
Latics were completely overrun by a strong Northampton side and it could well have been three or four before the half-time break. The mismatched defence with full backs playing at centre back struggled to deal with the Cobblers front line and it wasn’t until Omeka Obi came off the bench to join Adam Long at centre back that Latics settled down.
The second half was a completely different story, we attacked with purpose and could and should have been level with Northampton. Kyle Joseph joining Joe Garner up front was extremely impressive and hit the post with a shot that could have earned John Sheridan’s side a valuable point. As it was once again Latics failed to take anything from the game and it’s now a worrying five weeks since Wigan Athletic earned a win.
The injury list is clearly hampering us at the moment, the lads were facing an uphill struggle to compete with a fully fit squad after the summer we’ve had but now it’s virtually last season’s under 23 side and they’re finding it tough at the moment. Certainly in terms of results. But we have no alternative, until the takeover is completed at least this is where we are and this is the squad we have. We simply have to make the best of it.
A trip up the M55 and Bloomfield Road beckoned on Tuesday night. The most famous of all away days for Wiganer’s was reduced to a bottle of San Miguel on the couch whilst I turned my laptop on and I’ve got to say it does not match up in anyway shape or form. How different would Tuesday have been if there were 3,500 Wigan fans imploring the lads forward? We’ll never know but what we do know is Tuesday was a fantastic performance from our young charges.
With the only senior representation coming from the improving Dan Gardner, the really impressive Matty Palmer, the two Tom’s of James and Pearce along with Joe Garner and Jamie Jones. Everyone else in that side had come through the Wigan Athletic academy and despite failing to beat Blackpool those same young lads put in one of the most impressive performances of the season. We’re now bottom of the league and that’s clearly worrying but again we have to take this in context of where we are as a club.
We may well have been favourites in the 2015/16 and 2017/18 seasons but we were also among the league’s biggest spenders in those seasons with plenty of existing Championship talent making up our sides. Now we’re unable to sign players due to an embargo and those few senior players that have stuck with us are currently in the physios room.
Add in to all that a reduced pre-season due to the pandemic and a manager taking over on the day of the start of the new season and that position shouldn’t be surprising.
I think we’re better than that and I think we’re only a couple of returning players from showing that. Yes it’s dispiriting every week, yes it’s worrying the longer it goes on and yes it’s truly heartbreaking if we think back to the position we could be in right now if Choi and Yeung hadn’t pulled the plug.
But in that really irritating phrase – we are where we are. Now how do we get out of that bottom three? Well we’ve a week off from League action now which could be the ideal time to get a few of those senior players off the treatment table and back on to the pitch. As well as giving those lads who’ve played every match for the last few weeks a break.
No one was ever relegated in November and as worrying as our current position is our only aim this season is survival, and that goes for both the club and our status as a League One club.
We’ve heard more this week from the potential new owners of Wigan Athletic and on face value it all sounds good. I hold no real opinion on our prospective new owners, mainly because I’ve heard very little about them and don’t know who they are yet. I feel I wouldn’t be able to comment either way, and regardless what I say in the way of an opinion will hold no sway.
If we take the new owners at their word we can see the squad being strengthened and stability coming via the way of new contracts to the academy graduates and John Sheridan. But actions speak louder than words and until the EFL sign the takeover off and we see the real intentions of the new owners, things could well change.
I hope and pray what Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo has said this week is true and that Wigan Athletic can once again find owners that will support us. It was disappointing to see that the Supporters Club felt that they couldn’t yet take a share in the club with the new owners. Whether this changes in the future we don’t yet know.
It’s now all eyes over to Lancashire and the EFL and to see what they think. All we ask is that they do the checks properly this time, if that takes longer as a result – so be it.
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