Latics guest player column - Will Grigg

Will Grigg
Will Grigg

It’s always nice to play against your old clubs, and I’m really looking forward to coming up against Walsall this weekend.

I obviously came through the ranks there and I had a great time until I left in 2013.

Unfortunately I saw quite a few managers during my time there, but Dean Smith was a massively influence on my career and I enjoyed working with him.

A lot of the lads in that side had come through the youth team, we all got our chance at the same time and it was good for me – especially with it being so close to home.

Dean was a very, very good manager who got the team playing some good stuff – 4-2-3-1 with the front four having a free role.

I sort of stretched the line and the three lads behind me pretty much did what they wanted.

I managed to get 20 goals in my last season there, and they were flying in!

Once you get on a little roll – and it was the same last year at MK Dons – you just look to carry it on, and it’s something I’m looking to do here at Wigan.

It’s nice to be back fit again, and nice to be back with a goal on Tuesday night.

The gaffer told me to get on and make an impact when I came on.

I didn’t see much of the ball, but I guess it doesn’t matter when you get a goal.

Obviously it’s frustrating to be out injured, and all I’m doing now is looking forward to the next game.

It’s been a bit of a weird injury to suffer – elbow ligament damage.

It happened at Port Vale (on September 12). I was marking their lad, he’s spun off me and I’ve tried to yank him back and I’ve felt a massive ping and a tear.

That was confirmed on the scan, and it’s really hampered me in recent weeks.

I’ve not been able to run properly, my technique’s been impaired, and I’ve been in a lot of pain.

But it was more to do with the extra damage I could potentially do it if I were to get a bang on it.

I’m getting there and it’s still not great. I’m having to wear heavy strapping during games to limit the movement, but hopefully it’s coming on all the time.

It was a great feeling to get the equaliser on Tuesday night – real delight after we built up the pressure.

We shouldn’t really have been behind, having dominated for so long.

We had a few minutes after the equaliser to maybe go on and win it, but it just didn’t come.

A point’s a point, though, and it becomes even bigger if we can pick up all three against Walsall this weekend.

Apart from Wigan, it’s also very exciting times in the Northern Ireland camp at the minute.

We’re so close to qualifying for next summer’s European Championship – and the last two games are going to be massive.

Compared to the last campaign, it’s been so, so different.

It’s the same group of players, same manager, same staff, but the turnaround has been unbelievable.

We won the first game and, since then, we’ve just carried on and gathered momentum and confidence.

It’s not been the most successful time for Northern Ireland football in the last few years, but the fans have always stuck with the team.

Anyone who’s ever been to Windsor Park will know it bounces every single game – and the feeling is getting better and better.

Victory against Greece next week would secure our place in the finals, and we want to get it done as soon as possible.

We know it’s not the end of the world if we don’t win, but we’ll be setting up and doing everything we can to win it.

It’s hard not to look ahead to the finals next summer, but there’s plenty of football to be playing in the meantime.

It means me missing the odd game for Wigan during the international breaks, but that’s part and parcel of football in the lower leagues.

You hope you manage to get three players called up so you can call the game off, which was the case at MK Dons last year.

But the Wigan squad is big enough and we’ve enough quality to get on with it and cope.

It’s obviously annoying for myself, having to miss games. But it’s one of those things and I always come back raring to go.