Five things we learned from Oldham (a)

Paul Kendrick reflects on five talking points from Wigan Athletic's 6-0 victory at Oldham in midweek...

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 4:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 4:24 pm
Jack Whatmough wins the ball at Oldham

1 The joy of six! Okay, opponents Oldham Athletic are rock-bottom of League Two. And they did make wholesale changes to field a number of younger players. But you can only beat what's in front of you, and a full-strength (Wigan) Latics line-up looked head and shoulders above their opponents from the off. A number of players in and around the first team haven't always done themselves justice in the cup games this term, but this time Leam Richardson can have no complaints about the attitude and application of his side...speaking of which...

2 Statement of intent! We've all heard managers moaning after cup games they've lost about the side they'd sent out being good enough to get the job done. With the Papa John's Trophy being a distant third in terms of his priority - and a worrying backlog of fixtures ahead - Richardson had every reason to give the competition short shrift. That he chose to send out his strongest available side backed up the manager's words all season - that whatever the competition, Latics would be going all out to win. And why not, because...

3 £40,000 reasons to go through! ...although Latics are now financially secure under Phoenix 2021 Limited, they're also not in a position to be throwing away money (who is?). And victory at Boundary Park means - as well as progression to the quarter-finals - a cool £40,000 on its way into the coffers. Looking further ahead, there's a further £50,000 up for grabs for making it through to the last four, with the winners and losers at Wembley then taking home £100,000 and £50,000 respectively. Given Latics are the second highest-ranked side in the competition - with a better points-per-game record than League One leaders Rotherham - there's some serious money that is well within reach. That said...

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4 Burning the candle both ends! ...Latics' victory means another potential midweek date for rearranged fixtures has disappeared. There are now only four 'free' full midweeks between now and the end of the campaign. That will become three if Latics beat Blackburn in the FA Cup on Saturday. And two if Latics make further progress in the Papa John's Trophy. And one if they make it to the final of the PJT. The room for manoeuvre is getting smaller and smaller - and that's assuming there are no further Covid-related problems around the corner...but still...

5 Nice habit to be in! Winning, it's often said, breeds winning, and Latics are on a roll at the moment. It's now 13 matches since they last tasted defeat - at home to Lincoln in October - and the confidence levels in the camp must be near sky-high. The likes of Gwion Edwards, Gavin Massey and Jordan Jones took their chances to impress in midweek, meaning boss Richardson has real competition for places - even without Charlie Wyke and Jordan Cousins, for whom he will be looking to bring in cover this month.

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