12th Man: Latics fans have their say!

Wigan Athletic players celebrating
Wigan Athletic players celebrating

Even though Latics failed to pick up all three points in a disappointing result against Peterborough they still managed to make up ground on their promotion rivals and once again increased the gap from second to third.

A point wasn’t what we wanted but after how the side had manfully battled for a point when down to 10 men at Millwall a few days earlier a below par performance was probably to be expected.

Sam Morsy was a big miss before the game as a result of his one game suspension but worse was to come with injuries to Jussi Jaskellainen and Conor McAleny before half time.

The loss of Jussi in particular was a big blow after how influential he had been in the previous few weeks.

To compound that having to bring off Jason Pearce at half time left us with little room to freshen things up in the second half.

A point was probably a fair result in the end but it makes it all the more imperative that we get the win at Colchester on Saturday.

Especially now that Burton are showing signs of faltering.

I’m not convinced that Burton will be able to last the pace at the top of the league, the question is can Latics keep up the pressure on Nigel Clough and his team and capitalise.

Three points on Saturday would certainly help.

Sean Livesey

Frustration was the feeling that me and 8,000 others probably had as we left the DW Stadium on Saturday evening after our 1-1 draw with Peterborough.

We didn’t play particularly well, we had to make three substitutions before the second half had even begun and we looked tired from our midweek game at Millwall yet we managed to nick a goal out of nowhere that we probably didn’t deserve.

And yet, I’m disappointed we didn’t manage to take all three points and that’s credit to how well we’ve been doing lately that I’m upset we didn’t go on to win a game we never really got going in.

But when you have a goalscorer like Will Grigg in your team, a chance of grabbing a goal out of nowhere is always possible and he’s the first striker I’ve seen at Latics in years that has actual goal threat.

And I’m still insistent we aren’t supplying him with enough ball to do more damage than he already is.

Luckily, results went mostly in the way that we wanted them to this weekend and in midweek, as Burton Albion slipped up away at Bradford and the game in hand they now have has disappeared and they’re now looking over their shoulders at us.

The gap between us and Burton is now four points, and I can’t help but look back at missed opportunities against teams such as Sheffield United at home and Crewe away as two games were drew that we definitely should have took all three points from.

Now the gap would be non-existent. All hypothetical, but still a valid point!

Obviously, winning the title would be brilliant and we should set our minds on chasing Burton down, but the aim is promotion and to get out of this league as quickly as possible.

As much as I’ve enjoyed this season, I wouldn’t want us to do a Sheffield United and get stuck in this league for years and they’ve proved it’s difficult to get back out of.

That’s why I’m focusing more on the gap between us and the chasing pack in the play off places, which is now five points.

And Saturday’s game away at bottom club Colchester gives us the perfect opportunity to keep or maybe extend the gap in the automatics this weekend.

Sam Whyte

The games are running out fast and we are cementing our place in the automatic promotion spots.

The draw last Saturday against Peterborough wasn’t what we all wanted, but at this stage of the season a point is a point and with the majority of other results going our way, indeed Burton lost their ‘game in hand’ away at Bradford on Tuesday, the status quo was maintained.

Sam Morsy was conspicuous by his absence in the game against the Posh, he has certainly established himself very quickly in the Latics midfield, not only as a top defensive midfield player, but he also gives both Max Power and David Perkins freedom to get forward and put pressure on the opposition in the final third, he’ll be welcomed back on Saturday.

Another ‘welcome’ must be handed out to Stephen Warnock who has arrived on loan from Derby, a quality left back with tons of experience, he should be a fantastic asset for the run-in.

We’re off to Colchester on Saturday, an old Roman town, visited by the man himself back in the day, Julius Caesar.

Hopefully unlike Caesar we will be wary of the Ides of March and, although they are adrift at the foot of the table and not won a home game since October 20, we will treat the game in the utmost professional manner and not come unstuck down in Essex.

Up the ‘Tics!

Barry Worthington

Latics will be hoping to close the four-point gap on league leaders Burton Albion when they travel to bottom of the table club Colchester United on Saturday.

They are certainly capable of going on to claim the League One title as they now have the strongest squad in the division and in Will Grigg they have probably the best striker.

Nicky Ajose at Swindon and Adam Armstrong at Coventry currently lead the Scorers Table with 19 goals, but Grigg, with 16 goals, is now hitting top form despite his early season being disrupted by injury and International call-ups.

Grigg looks like eclipsing the 22 goals he scored in all competitions for MK Dons last season. He has scored nine goals in his last 10 games and is improving just at the right time for Wigan’s promotion surge.

He is reaching peak form and should add plenty to his tally in the remaining games of the campaign.

When Gary Caldwell signed the 24-year-old Grigg at the beginning of the season, the striker was under tremendous pressure to deliver the goals for Latics promotion campaign. He has delivered so far, and he his surely capable of doing it in the Championship as well.

Grigg is not only driven by his desire for success with Wigan, but also by securing a place in Northern Ireland’s squad for the European Championships in France.

The Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill must have been very impressed when he watched him complete a hat-trick against Port Vale recently.

Grigg has the ability to make a big impact in the Euros especially if he can help Northern Ireland pull off some shock results in a difficult group with Germany, Ukraine and Poland.

Not only is Grigg a top goalscorer but he has many other good qualities as well.

His desire to succeed and his work rate are excellent and his link-up play has been central to Latics’ best attacking play. He is adept with both feet and he gets his fair share of headers and his movement off the ball means that he is always a problem for defenders.

He is usually in the right place at the right time and he will continue to score goals as long he gets good service.

Caldwell must be delighted with the acquisition of Grigg, who is likely to be the first Wigan Athletic striker to score more than 20 goals in a season since Nathan ‘Duke’ Ellington in 2004/05.

Grigg is now on the verge of a remarkable treble by making it three promotions in the last three seasons to the Championship.

He was promoted with Brentford in 2014, then with MK Dons in 2015 and hopefully he will do it again with Latics in 2016.

Ian Aspinall

You probably are aware that on Wednesday it was March 9, a date that has embedded itself into our club’s history.

Three years ago to that date, we defied to odds at Goodison Park to defeat Everton 3-0 in the FA Cup quarter-final.

And we all know what happened after that, of course. We went on to win the famous old trophy thanks to a last minute header from Ben Watson. Obviously, we defeated Manchester City in that final, a relevant fact considering that two years ago on March 9 we won another FA Cup quarter-final away from home.

It was against the odds again as we travelled to City’s Etihad Stadium, but we saw our Championship side turn over the Premier League champions.

A lot has changed since then but looking back on great memories makes you want to experience more with the club you support.

Latics have provided us with some great moments already this season: Multiple comebacks with plenty of goals, last-minute winners and a team that has a real connection with the fans.

As fans, that’s all we’ve ever wanted, but now there is the belief that we can get promoted and that this group of players deserve that achievement because of what they have given to the club.

Their performances have earned the respect of our followers, as well as earning the right to play in the Championship next season.

We just need to see it through - it’s in our hands, especially with league leaders Burton losing their game in hand last night. We’re four points off top spot and five points ahead of joint-third Gillingham, who are struggling to score goals, and Walsall, who sacked their manager Sean O’Driscoll over the weekend.

I mentioned the memories of us lifting the FA Cup and it probably doesn’t get anymore special than that for Wigan Athletic.

Admittedly, the League One title is incomparable to the FA Cup, but it will be welcomed just as gratefully by the Wigan Athletic fans and everyone involved in the club.

It’s time to bring the good times back and start making club history again.

Kieran Makin

As I thrust apart my curtains on Friday morning, I was greeted with an unsettling sight: snow, and plenty of it.

“Hopefully this isn’t an omen,” I gulped while hurriedly thumbing the 24-hour forecast for Robin Park.

Little did I know that mere miles from my darkened doorstep, an even more sinister omen was about to unfold.

Minutes later, goalkeeping coach Mike Pollitt would drive his motorised vehicle into a brick wall they placed so inconveniently beside a public roadway. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt.

It was the start of a misadventurous weekend for the Wigan Athletic goalkeeping staff, who would each experience their own Friday 13th moments of bad fortune before Sunday had expired.I would like to say that Jussi Jaaskelainen is fine too.

However, after taking such a strong blow to the head, I’m sure he would have required a couple of nights in with the cushions and medicinal hot water bottle. For the crumpled SUV read that Peterborough attacker, for the misplaced brick wall read Jussi, I suppose.

Whether Lee Nicholls was unfortunate is much more debatable.

While it is true that he conceded a goal Our Jussi would probably have palmed into the massed ranks of an appreciative South Stand, it is also true that Marcus Maddison’s free kick took an awful dip some six yards from the sub keeper’s exposed left hand post.

Whatever the case, it ain’t fun to concede a goal, especially when it’s the first at the DW since Roman times.

I think Steve Bruce was the manager back in those days.

But Nicholls didn’t seem too downhearted, even briefly flashing a wry smile as his post-match interviewer forced him to relive the incident.

And hey, despite all these freakish occurrences within the space of just 32 hours, you might be pleased to hear that Latics actually increased the gap to third place in the League One table last weekend.

It’s easy to feel invincible when you have the enviable power to defy the laws of nature, but please refrain from punching the air just yet – I still need to have them remove all black cats, ladders and cracked mirrors from the DW Stadium!

Dan Farrimond