Paul Kendrick sifts through Wigan Athletic’s opening-day victory at the DW Stadium and assesses five major talking points...
1 The Tics are up and running! Latics have tended not to fly out of the traps on opening day during their time in the Football League, but Paul Cook saw his side kick-off with a win for the second season in succession. The momentum generated by last season’s League One title win has been retained, and the confidence levels will have been boosted ahead of tough games to come against Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest.
2 Latics won’t die wondering under Paul Cook! The Latics boss promised on the eve of the game that he wouldn’t be the kind of manager who’d set up his side to avoid defeat, and try and pinch wins in the Championship. And that was certainly borne out on opening day. Even when Latics went 3-1 up, they continued to push forward, and refused to shut up shop in the final quarter when Wednesday closed the gap to just one. Compared to watching Latics under Warren Joyce two years ago, it’s like chalk and cheese.
3 Michael Jacobs enjoyed a cracking afternoon! The forward didn’t enjoy the best of times two years ago - by no means the only one - as Latics struggled to consolidate in the second tier. But on the back of another big season in League One, when he reached his highest-ever goalscoring tally, he showed he can make a difference at this level with a dazzling display that brought two goals, an assist and a breathtaking effort that smacked the crossbar. As he said after the game: ‘If that one had gone in, I’d have walked off the field...’
4 Latics have a new cult hero within their ranks! Not many fans would have heard of Cedric Kipre a week ago. By Saturday afternoon, we all knew exactly who he was after a dream debut at the heart of the defence. When Chey Dunkley - no shrinking violet himself - refers to him as ‘the big man’, you know he’s a specimen and a half. And as well as being built like a brick outhouse, the Ivorian proved he can play as well.
5 The signing of Darron Gibson could prove to be a masterstroke! The sight of the former Ireland international midfielder joining Latics for training over the summer would not have sat well with every fan of the club. Given his well-documented off-field indiscretions, Gibson clearly has work to do to get everyone onside with his arrival. But after completing a ‘short-term’ deal last Friday, he was thrust straight in to the side and didn’t put a foot wrong until his late substitution. If he can stay on the straight and narrow, his capture could prove to be the signing of the season - for minimal outlay.