Joyce: Two up top ‘doesn’t mean more goals’

Omar Bogle
Omar Bogle

Warren Joyce has defended his ‘lone striker’ policy despite Wigan Athletic firing another blank against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night.

Latics, who are the Championship’s lowest goalscorers with 24 from 28 games, gave as good as they got for long periods against the promotion-chasing Owls.

But they struggled to put any real pressure on the Wednesday backline, with striker Will Grigg cutting a forlorn figure for long periods, receiving little or no service or support in attack.

And when new signing Omar Bogle - the scorer of 19 goals for Grimsby in League Two this term - was introduced at the three-quarter mark, it was instead of, rather than to compliment, the Northern Ireland international.

Despite Latics dominating the final part of the game, the Owls held out for three precious points.

But Joyce is adamant he won’t be throwing the baby out with the bath water.

“I think tactically, the way we play, and what we’re asking the midfield to do...it’s completely different if you do that (play two up front),” the Latics boss explained.

“You’d leave yourself outnumbered in midfield, and you’ve still got to play and create the chances.

“Just because you’ve got two men stood up the pitch instead of one, doesn’t mean you’re going to score any more goals.

“We tried that earlier in the season and I thought we actually looked less likely like scoring, because we went out of games.

“I thought we carried on driving on Friday, and I actually thought our best spell of looking more like scoring goals came during the last 30 minutes.”

Results also went against Latics on Saturday, leaving them six points adrift of fourth-bottom Burton - albeit with two games in hand - ahead of Tuesday night’s visit of Norwich.

And there was no rest over the weekend with Joyce desperate to make every second count on the training ground.

“There’s been different groups doing different bits of training,” he added.

“We’ve had lads who were not involved on Friday doing double sessions, doing a lot more than the lads who have been playing, but everyone’s been in.”