The 12th Man: Latics fans have their say

Wigan Athletic players celebrating scoring against Port Vale

Wigan Athletic players celebrating scoring against Port Vale

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I had to laugh on Monday evening, as the transfer window closed, and Sky were trying to generate interest in one of the dullest days of the year.

On social media, certain sections of the Latics fanbase were getting angry that our only deadline-day capture was Conor McAleny from Everton.

“Is that it?” one person asked, with similar other comments complaining about the lack of signings.

Do people realise that we had already made seven signings in January?

Including the captures of Sam Morsy, Ryan Colclough and Yanic Wildschut on permanent deals.

Those three make up a total of 29 signings since the start of the summer. You can only play 11 at any one time lads!

So it’s on to Sheffield, and a return to the scene of the 2006-7 ‘Great Escape’ on Saturday.

We’ll be going there as the favourites but, as we saw last month, the Blades are a dangerous side.

It hasn’t quite clicked for them under Nigel Adkins this season, but they’ll be looking to get a result to help their bid for the play-offs.

We need a win to keep the pressure on the top three, and it should be a fantastic game.

With over 1400 tickets sold already, it should also be another bumper Latics away following.

SEAN LIVESEY

Saturday’s victory over Port Vale was one of the easier games we’ve had in recent weeks, and it came at a time where everybody around us struggled.

I said a couple of weeks ago that despite the likes of Burton and Walsall having games in hand on us, it is still possible for us to win this league.

And seeing how the last seven days have panned out, I still believe we can win it.

If we can keep Will Grigg fit and healthy, then we’ll be in with a shout come May.

Saturday proved to everybody that he’s an out-and-out goalscorer. And the sooner we offer him more opportunities in and around the penalty area, the more success we’ll have.

He’s struggled in recent times playing up front on his own, as I don’t think that is particularly his best role.

But given the support from the likes of Michael Jacobs and Haris Vuckic in recent weeks, he’s getting himself on the scoresheet more nowadays.

All of this is now on the back of solid defence, and I think not enough credit has been given to the likes of Jason Pearce and Craig Morgan, who have turned our early-season inconsistencies at the back into a solid platform to build on.

Only Burton and Walsall have conceded fewer goals than ourselves in the league. And the old saying of ‘if you don’t concede goals, you don’t lose games’ is ringing true.

We will need that type of resolute defending when we visit Bramall Lane on Saturday to face Sheffield United.

Many people at the start of the season predicted both of us to be battling for the League One title, which hasn’t been anywhere near the case.

However, the Blades offer a lot of threat going forward in the likes of Billy Sharp and Conor Sammon, so we need to ensure we take something from the game.

With everybody around us also having tough games on paper, Saturday could be our chance to close the gap on the top two – and see if they can handle the pressure from below.

SAM WHYTE

What a week for Gary Caldwell and the Latics.

A trouncing of Port Vale, a centre-forward hat-trick, promotion rivals all losing on Saturday and, to top it off, a great end to the transfer window.

Will Grigg was the hero of the hour on Saturday with a fine hat-trick – a near-post flick, a cool penalty after he had been rugby-tackled in the area, and a sublime finish with 20 minutes of the game remaining.

Grigg looks like a striker on fire, and he could yet get those elusive 20 goals in a season we haven’t seen at the Latics since the days of Ellington/Roberts.

New-boys Ryan Colclough and Sam Morsy (main pic) both came on to make their debuts, with the Latics coasting.

Of course Colclough and Morsy weren’t they only piece of activity in the final stages of the transfer window.

Jordy Hiwula was recalled by Huddersfield, and we moved quickly to replace him with Everton striker Conor McAleny. But the most impressive business from the club was the departures of Rich O’Donnell, Don Cowie and Grant Holt.

Now we have a club bouncing with excitement, going into the final third of the campaign, off to Sheffield United on Saturday.

We’re still on course for my prediction to be in the top two by the end of this month. Once there we won’t be shifted either.

Up the Tics!

BARRY WORTHINGTON

Expectations are high after Latics produced a convincing 3-0 victory against Port Vale last Saturday.

Latics are upping the pressure on the teams above them, and they will be seeking to maintain their promotion form this week at Sheffield United.

Former Latics’ goalkeeper Nigel Adkins manages the Blades and they should provide stiff opposition at Bramall Lane.

United have dropped to ninth in the table after Tuesday night’s games, but they are only two points off the play-off spots and will be desperate to reduce the gap between themselves and Latics.

Despite the lack of transfer window incomings, the Blades still have a good number of dangerous forwards in their squad, with Billy Sharp (14 goals), Che Adams (6 goals) and former Latic Conor Sammon (6 goals) all likely to pose a threat.

It’s another big game for Latics, and they’ll be hoping to get one over a team that managed a remarkable comeback from 3-0 down at the DW Stadium in January.

IAN ASPINALL