IT’S never straight-forward with Wigan Athletic is it?
After deservedly seeing off mighty Manchester United and Arsenal, Latics’ survival bandwagon came off the rails at Fulham last weekend.
Don’t get me wrong – Fulham are a decent enough side, and not too many teams go to Craven Cottage and come away with the spoils.
But given the way Latics had performed in recent weeks, it was a golden opportunity to all-but secure survival.
In the end, tiredness did for Latics as much as Martin Jol’s outfit, and they must get back on the horse as quickly as possible with only three matches of the season left.
The first of those sees Champions League-chasing Newcastle visit the DW, and they couldn’t be in better form.
But if the back three can continue the kind of form that stifled the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie in recent weeks, we’ll hopefully be toasting three points – and perhaps even another season of top-flight football – come Saturday evening.
IT wasn’t just the fact that Wigan won so comfortably on Sunday which was pleasing.
It was the fact they made it look so easy.
Shaun Wane has his side playing a great attacking style, on the back of the forward muscle of Harrison Hansen, Mike McIlorum and Jeff Lima.
They’ve now won five in a row, and I fully expect them to make that six at Featherstone this Friday.
It’s a great effort by Wane, made all the more impressive when considering that, at the start of the year, he expected to have two real stars – Amos Roberts and Stuart Fielden – in his side.
With Roberts retired (bizarrely, Wigan are yet to announce his departure, even though the Aussie himself spoke at depth about it in the Observer last week) and Fielden out until August, Wane could have been tempted to look for reinforcements.
Instead, he has given home-grown players a chance – and now he’s reaping the rewards.
I WAS shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Wigan stalwart Keith Mills last week.
In more than a decade doing this job he’s been without doubt one of the kindest, nicest, and most genuine people I’ve met. He’ll be sorely missed.
I’M not a Manchester United fan, but I’m a huge admirer of Paul Scholes.
He fires passes with laser-guided accuracy, he plays with the enthusiasm of a schoolboy, and for all the success he’s had and money he’s earned, he still carries himself like a regular fella.
Even so, I was surprised he finished third in the football writers’ player of the year poll. Especially when he’s not even played half the year.
FINALLY, I’ve dragged myself into the 21st Century, and got a Twitter account.
For news and comment during the week and at matches (and I promise, no tedious mentions about what I’m having for my tea) I can be followed at @PhilWilkWIG