Latics guest player column - Leon Barnett

Leon Barnett
Leon Barnett
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FIRST up it was a great win at Crewe on Tuesday night in the JPT.

It wasn’t ideal to go behind early on, and again at 2-1, but we had chances ourselves.

Obviously we missed the penalty, but I thought we showed great character to come back and win the game.

I was delighted for Jordy Hiwula to get his two goals.

That will hopefully give him a great deal of confidence to take into the next few games ahead.

Jordy and all the attackers have been working their socks off and haven’t really been getting the rewards they’ve deserved.

Hopefully getting three goals away from home will give everyone a big lift.

The winning goal from Yanic Wildschut was also something else.

Not many of the lads would perhaps have known too much about him before he arrived here last week.

But he quickly showed when he came on at half-time against Walsall on Saturday that he had something about him.

And what a goal that was against Crewe.

I’m glad for his sake it went in, because Holty was screaming for the ball on the left and would have given him a right earful had he not scored!

I was standing right near him it as he hit it, and you could tell from the moment it left his foot that it was heading for the top corner.

None of their lads seemed to want to put a tackle in, but when someone his size is running at you - 6’2 and around 80 kilos – I suppose it’s easy to back off and hope he passes it.

He showed he’s got that shot in his locker and that will have sent out a warning to a few teams in our division.

It’s just good to get back on the winning trail, and of course having Wembley at the back of our minds is always nice.

The Walsall game had been largely frustrating for us last weekend.

We had so much pressure and so much possession and couldn’t get the goal.

The after the sending-off of Craig Morgan, they had so much pressure and so much possession and they couldn’t get the goal.

Hopefully people at the game will have seen what we were trying to do and seen we are getting there game by game.

Next up for us is Saturday’s trip to Bury, and we certainly owe them one after their win here in the Capital One Cup.

These are games we have to win as well - against the sides around and above us in the league – if we are to achieve what we want to achieve.

We know all about Leon Clarke, who scored both Bury’s goals earlier in the season, and he’ll be a massive threat again this weekend.,

He’s a player I’ve come up against a few times, going back to our youth days, and it’s never easy.

He’s a very interesting character, and a very physical player on the field.

To be honest, I don’t mind playing against that type of striker.

You don’t set out to fight them – it’s about being smart and knowing when to go in and when to sit off.

It’s like a game of cat and mouse in that respect, and you just hope you come out on top in the end.

*****

I’ve always been a massive Arsenal fan since my youth, and it was great to see them beating Manchester United so convincingly at the weekend.

Hopefully that will have instilled a bit of confidence into the squad and they can go on and run and really challenge for the Premier League title.

Arsene Wenger got a fair bit of stick after the defeat to Olympiakos in the Champions League a few days before.

But it’s amazing what a good win can do to make everything all right again.

*****

It’s not just a big weekend for us, it’s also a big weekend for Wigan Warriors as they try to win the Super League Grand Final against Leeds.

I think they’ve got enough about them to win – I certainly hope so anyway.

I like watching any sports in my spare time, especially the big games like this.

Anything can happen in a Grand Final, with so much at stake.

Hopefully Wigan can come out on top because anything like this is good for the town.

And hopefully we can achieve success of our own at the end of the season to make it a double reason to celebrate.