Jack Whatmough reveals secret behind Wigan Athletic's survival lifeline

Jack Whatmough revealed Wigan Athletic's winning goal against Huddersfield - which blew wide open the relegation dogfight - was reward for meticulous preparation on the training ground.
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The big centre-back popped up with 10 minutes to go to nod home James McClean's pinpoint corner, and give Latics their first victory in three months.

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Whatmough had stated in the build-up the game would be the biggest of his 18-month tenure at Wigan, and he was in the thick of it at both ends.

Jack Whatmough was Latics' goalscoring hero against HuddersfieldJack Whatmough was Latics' goalscoring hero against Huddersfield
Jack Whatmough was Latics' goalscoring hero against Huddersfield
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As well as keeping the Terriers' attack at bay, Whatmough had Latics' three best chances - sending an overhead kick just wide, and heading inches over...before making it third time lucky to secure the points.

And he says the manner of the crucial goal was all down to meticulous planning behind the scenes, with assistant manager Rob Kelly taking a starring supporting role.

"The overhead kick, I didn't really know too much about it," said Whatmough, who was penalised for a high foot in any case.

"I think I felt more of his face on my boot than the ball which was obviously not intentional!

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"But the headers, we work so hard on set-pieces with Rob Kelly, it was nice to see it come off.

"We always talk about hitting areas Rob tells us to hit, and that was the area Rob told me to hit today.

"When I caught the flight of the ball, I fancied myself to get above my marker and get it on target.

"Funnily enough, it was the same chance as the one I had in the game at their place, when I hit the post.

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"It just shows that getting into the right areas can pay off.

"Macca will always put the ball on the money, we know that.

"We work so hard on that part of the game, and Macca takes so much care in making sure the delivery is just right."

Whatmough was equally pleased with the effort at the other end, with Latics recording a second successive clean sheet under new boss Shaun Maloney.

It was even more impressive given the loss of the injured Martin Kelly and Omar Rekik from Monday's draw at Blackburn, with Charlie Hughes and Ryan Nyambe stepping up to the breach in seamless fashion.

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"We've worked really hard defensively during the week, making sure we're all on the same page," revealed Whatmough.

"You look at Ryan coming into the side, Charlie who wasn't even in the squad last weekend, and I thought he was absolutely brilliant today.

"We were all on the same page, which I thought was needed.

"And I thought coming into today that a clean sheet would win us the game.

"Thankfully I was able to pop up with the goal at the end that got us all three points.

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"Defensively, I've always taken a lot of pride in clean sheets.

"And especially in the Championship, if you keep clean sheets, you've always got a chance of getting the win.

"At worst, you've got another point on the board, and at best you give yourselves the platform to make it three.

"Three points was massive today for this football club, and hopefully we can build on that."