Where do we go from here? It isn’t losing against Hull that’s the problem, it’s the manner of the loss that most certainly is.
Latics have given away a startling number of points from winning positions away from home this season, nineteen at the last count. The fact we haven’t won away from home since August tells it’s own story.
Both mentally and physically we’re shattered away from home. In two games on the road this week we’ve scored three goals. A relatively decent record but we’ve then gone on to concede a further four. It isn’t that we can’t score away from home, or indeed get a lead it’s that we can’t hold on to it.
As the clock ticked down last night it looked like another decent point for Latics against a side battling for a play-off place. To concede as we did – like we did against Reading, Derby, Villa and countless other sides was unacceptable.
Our game management is absolutely non existent, and it’s that that has seen us in this position. Individual errors have been present all season but over the last few weeks they’ve increased ten fold.
Central defensive errors against Bristol City saw us squander our lead and errors by both defence and the hapless Christian Walton saw us squander it last night.
Christian will no doubt turn in to a fine goalkeeper but he’s been found wanting this season. His performances since he returned haven’t improved and he was at fault for Hull’s equaliser on Wednesday night.
Jamie Jones has put in a number of impressive performances over his time with Latics and surely must be due a return on Sunday.
Paul Cook looked like a broken man after Wednesday’s match. There’ll be inquests galore post season as to the manager’s future but with five matches left this must be the toughest test of his career. Can he live up to that, and in return can his players?
Injuries have once again reared their head and it’s going to be a patched up Latics side trying to get over the finish line. Injuries like those to Michael Jacobs and Nick Powell have haunted us all season but we have still had plenty of opportunities to get out of this mess and for one reason or another have failed to take them.
With five matches left to go and only two points separating ourselves and the relegation zone thoughts turn to just what we need to escape this mess. Two wins? Two wins and a draw? That may just be enough to see us over the line – but where exactly do those results come from?
If we match or better Rotherham’s results over the coming week’s we’ll stay up. It’s as simple as that, the worrying thing is that Rotherham have shown a lot more heart and fight than we have this season.
They may have lost last night like we did but they have momentum and I’m not convinced we can match a resurgent Rotherham.
Sunday has become a huge match, one that no one will expect us to win. The only two positives I can think of are that Norwich may well be showing a bit of nerves as they edge to the finish line. Reading getting a late equaliser on Wednesday shows what can be done. Equally our home record has been fantastic, in stark contrast to that horrific away form.
Time is running out but amazingly it is still in our hands. Though there needs to be some honest words and some fresh thinking on the training ground this week. Something needs to change, let’s start it Sunday with a performance like we had against Bolton.
Paul Cook is a fighter, I want to see that fight in his side. Starting this Sunday. Come on Latics.
It isn’t over till it’s over.
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