Paul Kendrick looks back on the disappointing 1-0 home defeat to relegation rivals Bristol City and highlights five talking points...
Wigan Athletic never do things the easy way. Having recorded a morale-boosting victory at Birmingham four days earlier, Latics once again managed to eradicate any kind of feel-good factor and momentum in the space of 90 dreadful minutes. Only once this season have Latics produced back-to-back wins - in January. And that goes a long way towards explaining the current league position.
Dan Burn really is Superman. Not all heroes wear capes - some of them wear a blue and white shirt with the number 33 on the back. While others around him struggled, the big man was once again immense, keeping opposition danger-man Tammy Abraham well shackled throughout. Burn has recovered from a shaky start to become the most consistent performer in the side. More need to follow his lead.
Wigan Athletic has for many years been regarded as a place where quality strikers come to die. Thankfully, Will Grigg bucked that trend - and then some - with a goal-den campaign last term, but let’s hope Omar Bogle isn’t going to become the latest victim of the curse. He couldn’t stop scoring during his time with Grimsby but, after three quickfire goals at the beginning of his Latics career, he is cutting an increasingly frustrated figure at the moment, isolated up top on his own and starved of a decent supply line. Given chances, he’s proved he can score goals. Latics need to improve that supply line.
If Latics don’t improve their goal tally they will be dead and buried. Saturday’s shut-out was the eighth time in 11 home games under Warren Joyce that they’ve failed to trouble the scorers. And it was also an issue under Gary Caldwell, because Latics have now failed to score in 18 of their 37 games - a staggering 48.6 per cent. Their tally of 30 goals is comfortably the worst in the Championship. As goals win games, it’s not difficult to see where the problem is - and how urgent it is to find a solution. Bristol City boss Lee Johnson admitted after the game that he was always ‘comfortable’ his side could hold out Latics, because ‘they don’t score many goals’. For the manager of a relegation rival to be speaking so candidly after a game that was supposedly a ‘cup final’ for both sides speaks volumes.
Stephen Warnock is a mere mortal after all. After playing every single minute of every single game this term, the 35-year-old finally succumbed to a ‘lacerated leg’ in the closing stages of the game. Having barely put a foot wrong all season, Latics will be desperately hoping their skipper can overcome this setback to retain his spot on the left-hand side of the defence. His quality, not to mention experience, will be vital in the run-in.