IT goes without saying that every victory in the Premier League is important.
But one look at the fixture list tells you just how crucial the 2-1 triumph at West Brom could be for Wigan Athletic.
Not too many people will expect Latics to pick up much from the next three games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
But having beaten the Baggies – and Sunderland a fortnight previous – Latics have effectively given themselves a ‘free hit’ going into the trio of tortuous tests.
They’ve also given themselves the confidence of knowing they have the strength of character to recover from going a goal behind – as they did in both recent wins – to win the game.
Latics’ season won’t be shaped by what happens over the course of the next fortnight or so. Anything they pick up, will be a bonus.
But they’ve taken points off two of those sides when no-one expected them to in the past, and after collecting seven points from a possible 12, they at least head into this daunting schedule without the further burden of a bad run.
Yes, they’re in the relegation zone. But things are looking a lot better than just a few weeks ago.
AMIR Khan is running the risk of sounding like a petulant child.
I watched his fight against Lamont Peterson, gripped from start to finish. It was a terrific contest, one of the best bouts in years.
Yet to hear and read Khan’s comments afterwards, you could have been mistaken in thinking the Boltonian had his hands tied behind his back and a blindfold forced over his head.
Yes, referee Joseph Cooper was harsh to dock two points for pushing. But what did Khan expect?
He knew he was heading to Washington to fight a local hero, with a local referee, in front of local fans and two American judges.
I’d have admired Khan more if he had taken the defeat gracefully and praised his impressive opponent, rather than claim he had been robbed.
I DIDN’T even try to convince my bosses to pay for a flight to Florida, so I could join the Warriors for some ‘warm-weather writing’!
The pre-season trips always feed the cynics. ‘Enjoy the break lads... don’t get too sun-burned.’
But having seen the schedule drawn up for the squad, it’s fair to say they are definitely not there for a play-date with Mickey Mouse.
Shaun Wane wants his players faster and more skilful. Let’s hope this trip pays off spectacularly.
I NEVER really liked Gary Neville as a player, so I wasn’t exactly thrilled when he landed a Sky Sports job.
But after he enraged Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas for wittingly and brilliantly describing David Luiz as playing “like he was controlled by a 10-year-old on PlayStation”, I’ve been won over.
If only other pundits were as sharp and forthright.