Guest player column: Jake Buxton

Jake Buxton

Jake Buxton

Looking back on Tuesday night at Norwich, we obviously didn’t start the game as well as we would have liked.

But I still thought there were far more positives than negatives from the 90 minutes as a whole.

While the outcome wasn’t what we would have liked, there are things we can take forward and build on.

We just have to dust ourselves down now and get ready for Fulham on Saturday.

The gaffer and his staff decided we should stay down in Norwich after the game and have a light training session down there on Wednesday morning before travelling back up north.

When you’re playing three games in a week, training is probably more for the lads who are not getting a regular game, to keep up their sharpness.

It’s not a case of working on fitness levels when the games are coming thick and fast.

Next up for us is Fulham, who’ve had a great start to the season.

A couple of my old team-mates are down at Craven Cottage, and they’ve been telling me Fulham are very much a possession side, with a couple of big focal points up front.

One of those, Chris Martin, is obviously someone I know very well from my Derby County days.

He’s a top, top player, and I know I’m really going to be in a game on Saturday.

Chris is one of the best in the business when he’s on song, and when the team plays to his strengths he’s hard to deal with.

It’ll be a bruising battle, but I actually relish the physical challenge of going up against a striker like Chris.

We obviously try to play a passing game here at Wigan, but that’s only 50 per cent of the game.

You’ve still got to dig in when the need arises, and stand up to the physical test, and that’s what we’ll need to do to get back on track.

Challenging times are ahead

This division is as tough as I can ever remember it.

Facing Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich this week, both away from home, is as tough as it gets.

And it underlines what a big challenge it is for everyone this year.

It’s not going to get any easier, with another tough month ahead before the next international break.

Some people might be tempted to think it’s a bit easier in the Championship, getting an international break every now and then to have a rest – which Wigan didn’t have last year in League One.

But you still play the same amount of games, and it just means there’s a backlog that have to be fitted in midweek.

More often than not are long-haul fixtures, and that’s not easy to come to terms with.

We won’t be making as many mistakes

I’ll be coming up against a couple of my former clubs in the Championship this year, in Derby County and Burton Albion.

Everyone obviously expects Derby to be up there at the end of the season, although they haven’t hit their straps so far.

It was always going to be that way, with the change of manager, change of ideas and three or four new players coming in.

Nigel Pearson needs to find his own formation and style, but once they settle I’m sure you’ll see them moving up the table.

Burton have had a great start, and I’m pleased for Nigel Clough, my old gaffer at Burton and Derby.

They’ve got a very small squad, and togetherness will be a big thing for them this season.

If they can keep everyone fit they should have a good season, which is obviously great for them.

To be fair we’ve got enough on our plates here at Wigan to be worrying about anyone else. That’s all that matters to us – getting back to winning ways as quickly as possible.

It’s a new group, and the club, the players and the coaching staff are remaining very calm.

This club had a slow start last year, and it all ended nicely enough.

We’ve got to make sure the performances are showing gradual improvement, and we feel that’s the case.

Having said that, the longer you go without a win, it’s bound to lead to people starting to get a bit nervy.

We’re under no illusions that the start’s not been what we expected,

But there’s no need to panic – we all need to remain calm.

This club has a structure and a style it wants to adopt, and that will sometimes mean an uncertainty and an edginess to the play.

We’re trying to build from the back, and breaking between lines further up the pitch.

It brought great success last year, and there’s no need to suddenly change that. If we can cut out the silly mistakes we’ve been making all season, I’m sure we’ll be fine.

Jake Buxton was speaking to Paul Kendrick