I’ve spoken so much about turning points this season that we must have done a nine point turn over the course of the opening months of the season. Was Monday a turning point? It certainly felt like it. Warren Joyce’s first victory as Latics manager wasn’t pretty but my was it needed. If we had failed to win on Monday night it would have heaped the pressure on a fragile side already under the cosh along with pressure on a manager only a month in to the job.
There was a lot of criticism when Joyce once again failed to start a striker but Joyce proved his doubters wrong as Yanic put in arguably his best performance of the season as he was involved in both goals. Setting up the first for Reece Burke and scoring the winner. I’m still not convinced that Yanic is a long term solution as a striker but Joyce seems to think that’s his best position and so far the stats bear that out.
It’s a very different style of football under Joyce so far, certainly a lot more pragmatic if that is the right term than we’ve seen in the past. The possession based style that had become the norm again under Gary Caldwell seems to have gone out of the window – initially at least. But if this new style gets the required results to see Latics stay up this season you won’t find many people myself included complaining.
How we set up away from home is very different to how I would expect us to set up at home and with a Derby side on a high arriving on Saturday afternoon it will be interesting to see how Joyce approaches the game. Will Grigg was once again absent from Monday night’s squad with Adam Le Fondre and Craig Davies named amongst the substitutes.
It will be interesting to see if Grigg manages to make it back to the squad this weekend or indeed the starting line-up. There could be recalls as well across the midfield for Jordi Gomez or Nick Powell who were both names as substitutes on Monday evening.
Joyce seems to have steadied the ship defensively, certainly after the horror show of his first game in charge against Reading. Now is the time to build on the win over Huddersfield and start to climb the table.