Guest Columnist: Chris McCann

Chris McCann
Chris McCann

IT’S been a relatively comfortable week for us after the great win at Rochdale last weekend.

We’ve been back out on to the grass towards the back end of the week for a bit of tactical stuff ahead of Saturday’s game against Shrewsbury.

And we’re all determined to pick up where we left off from what I thought was a very good performance at Spotland.

It was another derby match – they all seem to be at the moment – and to perform the way we did was encouraging.

I thought we were very comfortable for large parts of the game, and we managed to play some nice football out there.

An away win and an away clean sheet – it doesn’t get much better than that.

We’re actually been working for the last few weeks in training on trying to get more clean sheets.

When you’re playing well, sometimes there’s a tendency to switch off a bit.

The Fleetwood game probably sticks out as a particular example of that.

The first half and the second half of that game were like chalk and cheese.

After a dominant first half, we seemed to take a backward step in the second half.

I think we’ve started to put that out of our minds a little bit in recent weeks – we’ve gone out looking for that second goal and kicked on.

It’s not a case any more where we score a goal and then take our foot off the gas.

Now we’re trying to get more and more, and I just think we need to believe in ourselves a little bit more.

That was certainly the case at Rochdale.

While it was a very good team performance, I do think we’ve played better this season – the Colchester game in particular sticks out.

But it was a thoroughly professional performance all round where all areas of the team stood up.

We defended well at the back, we didn’t put the ball at risk too much, and we stayed composed throughout the game.

Everyone’s bought into the gaffer’s beliefs, and you can see that’s starting to pay off.

We’re playing some nice football and, going in to games, teams are starting to look at us and step backwards thinking: ‘These are a good footballing side’.

That’s what we want – we want to make opponents fearful of playing against us.

We know we’re a heck of a side on our day, and now we’re starting to show it on a more consistent basis.

We’re on a good run at the moment, and the important thing is not to get carried away – which is easy to do.

We’ve got to keep ourselves grounded, and keep doing the right things that we’ve been doing to get us in to this position in the first place.

It’s early days still, but we want to keep trying to close that gap on the top two places in the table.

We’ve got back-to-back home games now, against Shrewsbury on Saturday and Burton next Tuesday.

And our home form in general has been very good this season.

We’ve always said that if we want to do anything in this league, the home form has got to be the key.

We’ve played some really nice football at the DW, and the results have been really good against some really good sides.

We’ve managed to blow away some top teams this year, and we’re looking to continue that over the next week or so.

It won’t be easy, because Burton in particular are flying at the moment.

But we’ve nothing to be fearful of, and we’ll go into the games full of confidence.

They should be the ones worried about us, the way we’re playing at the moment – that’s the way we’re looking at it.

I have to say this season has been quite enjoyable on the whole.

People will perhaps wonder why it’s not enjoyable being a footballer every single year.

But when you’re down at the bottom of the league and you’re struggling, it’s really not enjoyable at all.

It took us a while to gel at the start of the season, but it’s starting to click now and it’s a great squad to be involved in.

Personally I’m enjoying my football greatly at the moment – everybody at the club is.

We’re got a really great group here at the moment.

You can go round the dressing room or the training ground and speak to anyone – we’re all best mates.

There’s not one member of the squad you wouldn’t go over and have a chat with.

It’s a great togetherness, and I think that’s what you need to achieve good things at the end of the season.

Awayfrom Wigan, it was a great achievement for Ireland to reach next summer’s European Championships.

We don’t have the best record in qualifying for the Euros, but I’m looking forward to seeing how we get on next summer.

Especially with lads in there like James McClean and James McCarthy – former team-mates here at Wigan – it’s even better when you know a couple of the boys.

I still keep in touch with them and fingers crossed they can do us proud in the finals.

It’s hard to know how we’ll get on before the groups are drawn.

Last time it was very difficult for us. But hopefully it will be a different story this time.

Chris McCann was speaking to Paul Kendrick