Only ‘Premier’ Powell can save us now!

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

We’ll have another shot drinking in the ‘Last Chance Saloon’again on Saturday.

This season is rapidly turning into something exciting, with big thanks to Nick Powell for keeping our chances alive.

A win against Cardiff, coupled with defeat for Blackburn and Nottingham Forest would leave us two points off safety with two to play.

How exciting would that be?! We could really turn the pressure on.

Of course, we are dependent on others and can only do our bit.

But it is time though for the fans to really get behind the club this weekend.

As was seen against Barnsley, games last 90 minutes, and the lads will need our backing for the penultimate home game of this campaign.

We have ourselves a new talisman in the N’Zogbia mould in Powell.

He gives the whole place a lift when he enters the pitch.

It’s quite obvious that he isn’t 100 per cent fit.

But a 20-minute or so cameo from Nick ‘a goal’ Powell has been enough to win two of the last three games, and he was unlucky not to have secured us a point away at Brighton.

So let’s have one more hooray – and get the DW rocking!

Three points, and who knows...

Up the Tics!

BARRY WORTHINGTON

It’s amazing what can happen in the space of a year.

This time last year Latics were preparing to host Southend, a game they won 4-1, knowing a win the following week at Blackpool would seal promotion to the Championship.

A year later, and Latics go in to the last three games of the season knowing even three wins in a row may not be enough to save our Championship status.

The last week saw us generate six points from a possible nine.

At any other time this year, that would be seen as a decent return, but in our position it isn’t enough.

Nick Powell-inspired wins over Rotherham and Barnsley have given the squad – if not necessarily the supporters – hope.

The defeat at promoted Brighton was disappointing, if not really surprising.

What is disappointing is, once again, the manner of the goals we conceded.

As we seem to sort out one end of the pitch in terms of attacking, we fall down again on the other side of our game with the defensive duties.

So where to now?

Three games left to go – three games that could truly make or break the short-term future of the club.

Cardiff, Reading and Leeds are daunting matches, but shouldn’t hold fear for a side that are virtually down.

We simply have to go for it – beginning on Saturday.

If we can cut out the silly mistakes in defence, and keep creating those chances at the top of the pitch, we are more than capable of beating Cardiff, as Graham Barrow and the lads showed earlier this season.

After that game we should have a better idea of where we are and whether we’re heading back to League One for another grand tour.

Indeed, if results go against us on Saturday, we could well be relegated come 5pm.

But until it is confirmed either way we simply need to aim to win every game.

The likelihood is that we will be playing our football in League One next season.

It’s been a season of utter disaster, where we have nobody but ourselves to blame for our predicament.

Regardless of which division we’re playing our football in next season, the club need to get the next managerial appointment right.

We’ve set back the progress of the club years with failed managerial appointment after failed managerial appointment since we were relegated from the Premier League.

That’s why it was heartening to hear that David Sharpe will wait until the summer to get the right man.

Is there also an indication of who our targets may be, with the mention of the League One play-offs coming in to our mindset?

I’m actually surprised we’re being linked with a return for Uwe Rosler.

He’s in a much better position with Fleetwood than we are at the moment and, after how he left the club last time, I would be surprised if he would even entertain a return.

But whoever takes over will have no bearing on the next three games.

That’s down simply to Graham Barrow and the players.

We might be going down, but let’s go down fighting.

SEAN LIVESEY

Graham Barrow’s cunning plan to upset Brighton’s promotion party might have come off on Easter Monday if it was not for some woeful defending.

Barrow had hoped his team would keep the scores level until he could introduce the prolific Nick Powell in the last 30 minutes, but Latics went behind before half-time.

The goal was a route one affair converted by Glenn Murray with the Latics defence slow to react.

Solly March added the second when his shot went straight through Jakob Haugaard’s legs, and the Seagulls could have had many more as the Stoke loanee made a series of mistakes by dropping crosses and fumbling shots.

In a season of self-inflicted problems, Latics have dumped yet more misery upon themselves.

Matt Gilks had been in good form before Haugaard surprisingly returned to the team against Rotherham and Barnsley, and was very shaky to say the least.

But Haugaard’s performance against Brighton at the Amex was embarrassing and cost Latics any chance of getting a point.

The Latics board must rue signing the agreement that Haugaard play a specified number of games or pay the financial penalty.

It’s do or die now with Latics five points from safety with only three games remaining.

Relegation rivals Blackburn, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham have easier fixtures on paper, so it will require some surprise results for Latics to stay up.

A win against Cardiff tomorrow is essential if they are to have any hope of survival, and Gilks must surely return to the team if they are to have a chance.

Latics must also take a risk with Powell’s fitness as they try to keep their season alive.

The ex-Manchester United man has been limited to 20 and 30-minute spells due to his hamstring injury, but I’d expect him to have more game time against the Bluebirds.

Powell has now scored five goals in his last three substitute appearances, with a goal on average every 16.4 minutes.

It is likely Latics would not have been in relegation trouble if Powell had been available all season.

He is a prodigious talent and can turn a game almost single-handedly.

In his last three substitute appearances he has shown Premier League quality.

If he can show that kind of form in the next three games who knows what may happen.

IAN ASPINALL

We have three games to save our season – against Cardiff, Reading and Leeds.

Realistically we need to win all three to have any chance of staying in the Championship.

We also need the teams around us to drop points.

Tomorrow’s game against Cardiff, is win or bust.

If we win and then teams around us drop points then the ‘Great Escape’ will be very much back on.

Blackburn travel to Wolves, Nottingham Forest host Reading – who can secure a play-off place – and Birmingham travel to arch-rivals Aston Villa.

I can see more than one of our rivals dropping points over the weekend, so it’ll be up to ourselves to make sure we secure all three points against Cardiff.

However, if we fail to beat Cardiff, then it’s possible we can become a League One team come 5pm on Saturday.

Plenty has been made about the goalkeeper situation over the past few weeks.

And I hope Graham Barrow sees sense and makes sure it’s Matt Gilks who starts tomorrow, as it’s clear he should be the one in goal.

If it’s true we’re only playing Jakob Haugaard so we don’t pay a fine to Stoke, we’ve only got ourselves to blame.

Nevertheless, it seems our hopes of survival have firmly been put on the shoulders of Nick Powell.

On his day Powell can be unplayable, so hopefully he’s the one who can spark the ‘Great Escape’ into life.

JOE O’NEIL

The difference a week makes in football is remarkable, and why so many people love the beautiful game.

In my last piece, I was mainly seeking positivity from the fans, saying it isn’t all gloom and doom if we are to face the drop, which looked probable.

However, since then, we’ve picked up six points from nine, thanks to Nick Powell.

Powell has been incredible, scoring five goals in three sub appearances, which raises the question where we would be if he’d been available all season.

Despite our good form, we are still five points from safety with three games remaining.

But you can certainly not write off us just yet.

A win on Saturday against Cardiff and a Nottingham Forest defeat could see us within two points of safety, with two games remaining.

The lads have shown great fight and spirit of late, and have twice comeback from behind to win against Rotherham and Barnsley.

And with Powell being on fire at the moment, we finally look to have the goalscorer we have been lacking all season – someone with the spark to win us games.

Another influence is worth mentioning is Jack Bryne.

The Irish midfielder has looked impressive from the bench, always showing for the ball, and wanting to create a chance going forward.

At just 20, he can certainly be a big player for the club in the future.

We only need to look back to a few years ago, when Wigan pulled off one of the greatest escapes in Premier League history, beating Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool on the way.

If we can find the spirit of that squad, we should be equipped to give it our all and stay in the Championship.

It’s a massive ask, but if there’s any possible chance of survival, I urge all fans to please come to our remaining games.

Sing loud and proud, and help guide the team to one of the greatest escapes in Football League history.

Our run-in is tough, with games against Cardiff and play-off chasing Reading and Leeds.

But we’ve beaten the odds before, and there’s no reason why we can’t again.

Whatever happens, in whichever league, I’m looking forward to the future, and really hoping our next managerial choice is the correct one.

This season has been terrible, but you know the old saying – things can only get better.

JAY WHITTLE

Introducing Nick ‘Ed’ Powell, Megacity Wigan’s latest rent-a-hero to inherit the ever-changing role of Temporary Wonderstar (12 hours per week, paying 23 crates of orange soft drink per year).

Fighting injustice and maybe a few Rotherham goalkeepers, this tenacious vigilante is an unlikely hero in a climate of extreme instability.

Banished to a faraway land, Captain ‘Cyclops’ Joyce continuously rues the fact he could never harness Powellman’s true destructive power.

With the former’s sense of self-preservation and the latter’s explosive fists, could Justice Team Latics have survived the cackling evildoers of this money guzzling corporation known as the Football League Championship?

Undoubtedly, with ‘light side’ officials such as Simon Hooper as their ally, the aforementioned justice team would have been a force to rival those cartoonish Magpies in their lavish new castle, and maybe even the savage Seagulls on their reinforced Pier of Righteousness.

Powell’s uncanny telepathic connection with Hooper in that encounter with Barnsley is comparable to that shared by Aquaman and his packet of fish fingers.

Once he senses Nick beginning to fall, Simon offers a toot on his magical nose flute and ‘justice’ is served once again.

But one senses Powellman’s fight is largely futile.

His major weakness remains his scarred lower limbs, the target of so many sharpened boot studs and impromptu slaps from mischievous Championship defenders.

Look closely enough and you can pick the spot where Barnsley’s Angus MacDonald scratched ‘nice bottom’ into Powell’s left calf with his unclipped toenails.

Will Justice Team Latics prevail before the spiked walls inevitably close in?

Or will they descend into the pool of mutant piranhas before a 10-ton anvil marked ‘Bluebird Bruisin’ Co.’ is released from the ceiling?

Tune in next week, same Powell time, same Powell channel.

DAN FARRIMOND