How Graeme Jones stopped 'unstoppable' Wigan Athletic

Graeme Jones has revealed the depth of tactical analysis that helped Luton Town nullify the threat of Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Graeme Jones on his return to WiganGraeme Jones on his return to Wigan
Graeme Jones on his return to Wigan

The former Latics striker and assistant manager oversaw a credible 0-0 draw for the rock-bottom Hatters on his first return to Wigan as a No.1.

And he admits plenty of work went into the game-plan, which restricted in-form Latics to only one real effort on goal - a Michael Jacobs shot in stoppage-time, which was brilliantly saved by Simon Sluga.

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"Doing my analysis coming into the game, I watched Wigan three times, and they were so impressive against West Brom last weekend," said Jones.

"They've got an unusual style, he's got the right players playing in the right positions, and they've been unstoppable in the last eight games.

"They are a very effective football team, and tactically we got it so right in denying them.

"We did three sessions on Wigan in the lead-up, that's how unconventional they are to play against.

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"Once we settled into the game we were fine, and I was very satisfied with the performance."

Also returning 'home' in Luton colours was Callum McManaman, although Wigan's man of the match from the 2013 FA Cup final remained on the substitutes' bench throughout.

Jones admits he thought long and hard about sending on a player who equalised in Luton's come-from-behind 2-1 victory in the corresponding fixture at Kenilworth Road in December.

"It was a difficult one, because I know Callum would have had the fire in his belly," the Luton boss acknowledged.

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"I did speak to him after the game to explain why, it was just a decision I had to make.

"Obviously you want to get on the front foot and try to win it, but it was important not to lose it as well."

Jones also felt his side could have gone home with all three points, having been denied a penalty in the first half for a possible foul on Sonny Bradley.

"We don't get penalties, you know that," he mused. "This is Luton, you're never going to get those decisions.

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"I've spoken about this to the boys, and we have to be above the referee.

"The performance has to be so good we earn the win without relying on referees.

"I haven't seen it back, but they tell me it was a penalty."