Well that was a lot tougher than it needed to be, a match that everyone expected to be an easy passage to the third round proved undeniably tougher than Cook and co expected.
Tuesday’s replay against Fylde only went ahead after a late pitch inspection following the freezing weather in the North West and I imagine the hardy 3000 Wiganer’s inside the DW were wishing the referee had indeed called it off after Fylde’s second goal went in.
A strong Latics side were in serious danger of facing an embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hand of the National League side on Tuesday night and it took Will Grigg to come off the bench to rescue Latics. In fairness to Cook he had named a strong side on Tuesday, as he had promised to do so.
There may have been eight changes but none of those eight would have looked out of place in the usual league side. But despite going ahead early on Latics simply didn’t gel or settle on the night and looked like they would be the latest giant killing in the FA Cup.
Grigg’s two goals take him to seven for the season and slowly but surely the star striker looks like getting back to his predatory best. For me Latics are simply a better side when Grigg plays. He offers so much more than just goals and if he can stay fit he’ll surely have a big say in where we end up at the end of the season. He may not be on fire yet but he’s certainly smouldering nicely.
So it’s on to Wimbledon on Saturday, a trip I’ve been looking forward to making all season.
Latics go in to the game on the back of a decent run of results without ever really looking at our best recently, so although we’re favourites Wimbledon won’t be a walk over. AFC Wimbledon have just been given permission to begin construction on a new stadium for the club back at Plough Lane their spiritual home. This can only be good news for a club that’s had a meteoric rise since being formed when MK Dons came in to existence, but expect a party atmosphere from the Wimbledon fans on Saturday.
Wimbledon marks the start of a really busy festive period for Paul Cook’s side. If we can get some away wins under our belts before Christmas we’ll be in an even stronger position than we are now.
First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 15th December 2017