The Wigan Athletic Glory Years: Bolton/Tottenham preview

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Whatever happens at the DW Stadium this week, I urge you to lighten up, try to forget your troubles — no matter how hard that might be — and get behind the lads, even if we’re losing 2-0. After all, things could be far worse – we could be facing point deductions, liquidation or even complete eradication from the face of the earth.

Remember: though it might not seem like it right now, these are the glory years of Wigan Athletic, the times you can reminisce upon and bore your grandchildren to tears with when you’re old and grey (if you aren’t already, and God knows there are a fair few bald-before-their-time Latics supporters). All 90 minutes of Latics’ victory over Chelsea; Maynor Figueroa’s halfway line strike live on the television, no less; the best goal we’ll ever see from Paul Scharner or Mo Diame on a football field. These are the things we ought to be remembering 2009-10 for, not inexplicable losses to lower league teams or, erm, that afternoon at White Hart Lane.

Latics' screen test looms

Speaking of our friends (and I use the term in a metaphoric, perhaps even ironic fashion) from North London, we just so happen to be their next fixture in the Premier League – the date to mark down in your diary, if you haven’t already, is Sunday at 4.15PM. A weird time for a football match to take place, I know, but I’m guessing Sky picked it for TV broadcast because they wanted to gloat about Jermain Defoe just that bit more – expect plenty of repeats of ‘you know what’ in the week leading up to the game.

All is not well in the Tottenham camp, however. A loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers and an FA Cup draw against Bolton doesn’t exactly translate to a good week for Spurs, so they’ll be looking to put their troubles behind them and get back on track in the fight for a top four place. On the other hand, all accounts suggest they really were poor against Wolves, so bad that even Little Wigan could have beaten them – and I can personally vouch for that having seen the match on the Sky replay thingy.

All this isn’t to forget there’s a more immediate test to come on Wednesday evening as the Latics face Bolton at the DW. You’d have been forgiven for forgetting all about this game, what with all the postponements and such over the winter period casting confusion over rearrangements. Oh, who am I kidding – there isn’t a single Latics fan that doesn’t have the date Wigan next play Bolton tattooed to the inside of their eyelids.

Of course, there’s no doubting the importance of the Bolton game – a loss could see us back in the bear pit known as the bottom three and thirteen games of sitting there with our heads in our hands. A win, though, would be extremely handy, nay crucial, at this stage. We have to retain a positive outlook: one or two wins back to back may not save us from the dropzone just yet, but would give breathing space and take the press off our backs long enough to get some consistency back into the team, something that’s been absent from Wigan Athletic since late 2008.

Still, on any individual day Wigan are capable of beating Bolton, certainly on home turf. Even if it has been ravaged by elephants and golf club-wielding hooligans on Friday evening… by which I mean the rugby. Oh, the fun and games the resultant potholes could lead to are almost infinite!

Four points is a realistic target for the next two games. Should we get zero, I fear Martinez will be the target.

Dan, Jesus Was A Wiganer

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