Wigan Athletic guest player column – Reece James

Reece James
Reece James

It was obviously disappointing to come up short at Port Vale last weekend.

We conceded two sloppy goals that shouldn’t really have happened.

You’ve got to be able to bounce back from that, which we managed to do the previous week against Chesterfield, and which we threatened to do at Port Vale.

Towards the end, though, we lost our way, we went down to 10 men and we ended up conceding another unfortunate goal.

I must admit, when our second goal went in I did think back to Chesterfield, and expected us to go on and win the game.

We ended up having quite a lot of possession around their box and had a few opportunities where we could probably have taken the shot on.

We didn’t, though, and that’s the way football goes.

Sometimes it goes for you, and sometimes it doesn’t.

To have gone from such a high at Chesterfield to such a low at Port Vale was just incredible – a real kick to the stomach.

All we can do now is try to get rid of that feeling as quickly as possible.

When we went down to Gillingham and lost 2-0, we came back well and managed to win the next two games against Crewe and Chesterfield.

We’ve shown before we can bounce back from setbacks, and we’ve got an unbeaten home record to defend as well.

We’ve also not conceded a goal at the DW Stadium, and that’s something we’re definitely focused on keeping going.

You can’t really put your finger on exactly why the fortunes have been so different between the home form and the away form.

I think perhaps teams are more inclined to come at us at their home ground.

Everyone’s always up for the game because it’s Wigan Athletic, we’re such a big club and teams tend to turn up for the big games.

At our place, we play at such a good tempo with the fans behind us that it’s a bit of a fortress to come to, and maybe some teams psychologically take a step back and we can get at them.

Some people have also maybe got to realise how tough it is for us having such a new squad.

It will take time for us to gel together, but promotion remains the main aim. And games like Fleetwood on Saturday are the ones we’ve got to win if we are to challenge for the promotion places.

SPEAKING of Fleetwood, it’s fantastic what they’ve done up there in the last few years, all credit to them.

The manager, Graham Alexander, has done an unbelievable job, assembling a squad with some really good players.

Graham was actually still playing while I was at Preston as a YTS lad, he ended up doing a bit of the coaching a few times and with the U-21s.

I know him quite well and he’s really good to be fair, he really looked after me and I wish him well for the future.

Being a former Manchester United player, I like to keep an eye on their results, and it was nice to see them beat Liverpool in the big Premier League game last weekend.

It doesn’t matter what age group you’re talking about, United against Liverpool is always a massive derby. However you go about it, just make sure you win that game.

United have managed to win the last couple against them and hopefully they can continue that form into the rest of the season.

I still keep in touch with a few of the lads – like Paddy McNair and Will Keane – and it’s nice to see them all doing well.

Not many people will know this but, as a young lad growing up, I actually supported both Burnley and Wigan.

And I can prove it...my dad’s got pictures of me in Wigan shirts with Jason Roberts and Jimmy Bullard’s names on the back!

Those were the two teams I watched growing up, and I’ve always looked out for their results ever since.

And that’s why, when I had the opportunity to come to Wigan this summer, it was such an easy decision to make.

It was great watching Wigan win promotion to the Premier League under Paul Jewell, and then Steve Bruce and Roberto Martinez.

Leighton Baines (right) was the player I watched the most closely, I really liked him as a player and it’s no surprise I play in his position.

He was probably another big reason why I followed Wigan, and of course he’s kicked on now at Everton and England.

It just shows how good a player he was, and a great example of what can be done.

Reece James was speaking to Paul Kendrick.