Talking football: Latics have a couple of points to prove

Craig Morgan
Craig Morgan
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Wigan Athletic will head into this weekend’s clash against Port Vale with more than a point to prove.

Firstly, they’ll be looking to avenge a last-gasp defeat in the corresponding fixture back in September.

Having hauled themselves back from two goals down (yet again), Latics undid all their good work by conceding a late winner after Leon Barnett had been sent off.

Secondly, they’ll surely be fired up after dropping a couple of precious points at Crewe last weekend.

On the balance of the game, a point perhaps wasn’t the worst outcome.

In fairness, the home side looked just as likely to come up with a winner in the final quarter, and would have won had Jussi Jaaskelainen not pulled off a stupendous save to deny Ryan Colclough just before half-time.

Of course, you could also point to the fact Latics dominated the majority of the encounter only to fail to convert that into superiority on the scoreboard (where have we heard that before?).

On another day, Yanic Wildschut could have easily come away with a hat-trick.

And although he was guilty of squandering a number of chances, I had to give the flying Dutchman the man-of-the-match honours for his overall performance.

Right from the off he looked sharp and focused, and if he sees as much ball as he did at Gresty Road for the rest of the season, then Latics should reap the benefits of their £1million investment.

It’s also fingers crossed time regarding Michael Jacobs, who has the quality and end product to be every bit as important as Wildschut in the second half of the campaign.

The sight of him being carried from the field after half an hour was worrying to say the least.

And his loss for any length of time would be a massive blow for Gary Caldwell and his men’s hopes of closing the gap further on the top two.

It’ll be great to see Michael Brown back at the DW Stadium this weekend, albeit in a Port Vale shirt.

The very epitome of the term ‘tough-tackling midfielder’, Browny never gave less than 100 per cent during his time with Latics.

One thing’s for sure - the likes of Max Power and David Perkins will certainly know they’ve been in a game come Saturday evening.

l January tends to throw up some fabulous transfer rumours to go with the deals that actually have a chance of getting pushed through.

However, if Latics do succeed in bringing back Jordi Gomez from Sunderland – as certain ‘in the know’ sources’ are claiming – it might be time to commission a statue of David Sharpe alongside his grandad outside the DW Stadium!

There wasn’t much to smile about when Crewe’s Brad Inman blasted past Jussi Jaaskelainen to secure the Railwaymen a point at the weekend.

But at least it allowed Radio Manchester’s Paul Rowley to slip this absolute gem into his post-match report:

“Crewe’s Inman found himself free – I’m free – to score the equalising goal.”

Social media has been a largely positive invention, allowing Joe Public the opportunity to connect with the biggest stars on the planet via the click of a tweet.

But as Michael Carrick found to his cost this week, keeping followers up to speed with how his day is going isn’t always a good idea.

“When you rush to a platform to see the train pulling out the station and a few people sniggering It’s ok, only an hour till the next one.”

Shortly followed by: “Regarding my last tweet, there’s been far too many comments about my pace. Some very harsh I must say.”

I have my doubts about the authenticity, but the quotes attributed to Denis Law this week concerning the present problems at Manchester United certainly raised a smile anyway.

“Would the United team you played in beat the current side?”

“Yeah 1-0 I think.”

“1-0? Why so close?”

“Well most of us are in our 70s now.”

Much has happened in the last decade, but it’s still hard to believe it’s 10 years this week since Latics went down to Arsenal and managed to scrape through to the final of the League Cup on the away goals rule.

Mike Pollitt pulled out the performance of his life to keep the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Van Persie and Co at arm’s length for 120 minutes. And the scenes at the end when Jason Roberts popped up with virtually the last kick to send Latics to a final date with Manchester United will go down in club folklore.

I even got my ugly mug on the telly in the aftermath of Roberts’ winner, the Sky cameras catching me and my brother in a jubilant Latics end that was just discovering the fact that away goals did indeed count double.

Good times indeed – and who was to know that there was more – much more – to come over the coming years...