Five things we learned from Accrington (a)
Paul Kendrick reflects on five talking points from Wigan Athletic's Papa John's Trophy victory at Accrington on Tuesday night...
1 Keep on keeping on! The Papa John's Trophy may have been a distant fourth on Leam Richardson's list of priorities at the start of the campaign, but there's still plenty of reason to be pleased with progression to the last 16. It's another chance for fringe players to get minutes, youngsters to gain experience...and winning is a great habit to be in. Not forgetting the carrot of Wembley, which is one step closer now...
2 Getting the Hump! There's nothing strikers like more than kicking the ball in the back of the net and - regardless of the competition, or the fact his shot took a huge deflection on the way in - Stephen Humphrys will have benefitted from his goal. His tweet after the game - 'Bout time I scored, lol' - underlined his relief! With a bit of luck, he could easily have had a hat-trick. Let's hope he can take that into the upcoming FA Cup and league games.
3 Teenage kicks! After Scott Smith, Sam Tickle, Chris Sze and Adam Long made their mark in the group games, this time it was Baba Adeeko taking his opportunity to impress at Accrington. It came out of a negative - with Smith limping off the field just before half-time after being the victim of a hefty challenge. But Adeeko's introduction was a huge positive on the night for an Academy that continues to underpin the success - present and future - of the club.
4 No ordinary Joe! It was also a big night for Joe Bennett, almost nine months after his last involvement at first-team level. The 31-year-old's final days at Cardiff were ruined by an ankle problem, but it was hoped his summer move to Wigan would allow him to kick on. However, a couple of calf niggles in training has kept him a frustrated spectator - until now. Cliche alert, but the return of a player who's played all of his career up to this point in the top two divisions will be like the proverbial 'new signing' for Leam Richardson.
5 Fan-fare! How can we not make reference to the 585 hardy souls who made the trip over to Accrington on a cold, bleak wet Tuesday night? Considering we're in the midst of an 11-day period which also includes trips to Cambridge, Plymouth and Colchester, it's an incredible effort from the 12th Man to support their side. After 12 months of being unable to follow their team in person, the fans are making the most of being in the stands and on the terraces - and the scenes of celebrations with players after goals and victories show how much it's appreciated by the players.
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