Five things we learned from Plymouth (a)

Paul Kendrick reflects on five talking points from Wigan Athletic's 2-0 victory at Plymouth on Tuesday night...

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 5:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 5:54 pm
Curtis Tilt scores the second goal at Plymouth
Curtis Tilt scores the second goal at Plymouth

1 Back-to-back to their best! Six points picked up in the space of three days, and the League One table certainly has a far more positive look to it. It was only the third time Latics have won successive games all season, and the first time they’ve secured two clean sheets in a row. Out of the relegation zone for the first time since Halloween too...no need to be afraid any more!

2 Spreading the joy! The 2-0 win at Plymouth, on the back of Saturday’s 3-0 triumph over MK Dons, not only improved the goal difference – which had been the worst in the third tier. It also produced five different goalscorers – George Johnston, Callum Lang, Joe Dodoo, Viv Solomon-Otabor and Curtis Tilt – three of whom were breaking their duck. If Latics are to win their fight for survival, it’s going to be a team effort – and sharing the goals around is a great sign.

3 Evans above! The sight of Lee Evans on the team sheet at Home Park was great to see. Not just because of his undoubted quality in the engine room, but for the effect he has on the players around him. The victory was Wigan’s fourth in 10 matches with Evans in the side this term. Contrast that with the 24 matches without him, which have produced only five wins. Prior to Plymouth, the three sides Latics beat with Evans in the side – Sunderland, Doncaster and Portsmouth – are fourth, fifth and sixth in the table. The Welshman can more than mix it with the best at this level. The only problem is keeping him out on the field.

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4 Mass-ive cause for optimism! Latics have also had to do without Gavin Massey for most of the campaign. With Tom Pearce out for the season, Massey and Evans are the only outfield players remaining from last year’s Championship squad. And that quality, know-how and experience will be vital in the run-in. Massey was making his sixth appearance in a row after three months out, and assists in the last two games show he is finding his feet again in the final third.

5 Safety in numbers! The return of Evans and Massey means Leam Richardson has genuine competition for places – at just the right time. On far too many occasions over the last few months, the Latics boss has pretty much had his team picked for him, based on who was fit and available. That led to players who perhaps needed a break being forced to soldier on, risking muscle injuries as well as dips in performance. With a week off now until next Tuesday’s trip to second-bottom AFC Wimbledon – because of this weekend’s Papa John’s Trophy final at Wembley – Richardson also has the luxury of giving his players an extra day off or two, to charge their batteries ahead of the next chunk of fixtures...which will decide their fate.

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