So the window is slammed shut once more, although I always struggle with that metaphor. What sort of window is open continuously for 4 months a year, then stays closed for 4 months, then opens again for a month in the freezing winter and then stays shut again for another 4 months? Not to mention, hardly anything trickles through the window for months and then on the last day we try to cram everything through it.
I tend to prefer the period after it’s shut much better as I loathe the rumours and speculation, fabrications designed to fill column inches. I hate the plaudits celebrating millions of pounds being frittered on blokes who happen to be able to kick a ball about well. And I hate the circus of Jim White and all the fawning sports presenters who love to tell us how fantastic all these bloated financial transactions are for the game, while further down the pyramid, there’s football clubs who can barely pay the leccy bill.
Back to us however, and I think we had a good window and kept hold of most of our key assets. I do think the sale of Alex Gilbey will come back to haunt us, he has looked a real force since his return from injury – almost Nick Powell-like, and perhaps therein lies the problem. Was he only sold because Max Power didn’t get his sought after move to the Championship? That, again is nothing more than educated speculation.
The much touted outgoing was Will Grigg, and he has cut a forlorn figure in recent weeks. He is a goalscorer, a 20 goal a season man, and it’s hard to get 20 goals if you can’t get in the team. However, he is still regaining his fitness after a serious injury and Paul Cook did absolutely the right thing in bringing a more match fit Ivan Toney in. It would be lovely to see Grigg back on the boil and in the team, but then I’m not so sentimental about players that I’m bothered who plays up front, so long as they do their job.
There’s a long season ahead, and Ivan Toney has a very strong incentive to stay fit and score goals, knowing Grigg is waiting in the wings so let’s not worry too much and see how it plays out. Competition for places is good, and if anyone is sulking, then they may well get their mojo back if they sit tight and wait for their chance. The same applies in midfield to Max Power and indeed, the forgotten man, Shaun McDonald eventually.
Elsewhere, we look a little short at the back, and I’m not just referring to Nathan Byrne. Our only recognised right back admits himself isn’t even a right back! Plus the three match ban for Chey Dunkley has perhaps exposed our shortcomings at centre half given Morgan’s long term injury.
Yet there is some real attacking quality in the squad throughout with Jacobs, Toney, Grigg and Massey. Plus if the talismanic Nick Powell can stay fit, we are in for a real treat this season.
Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 8th September 2017
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