HERE’S the first in our weekly Wigan Athletic player columns - kicking us off is new signing Michael Jacobs!
IT’S not been the ideal start to the season in terms of results, but it’s a new squad here with a whole host of new players.
When you look at the Coventry game on Saturday, we had 13 players making their debut which says it all.
I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, to be honest, and there are still a few good players remaining from last year.
Obviously the gaffer and the chairman are rebuilding in their own way, and bringing in some quality players, and once it all clicks we’ll be fine.
We’re still gelling as a group - a couple of players, including myself, only came in towards the end of pre-season - and it does take a bit of time to get used to playing new formations and with different players.
The performance and the result at Coventry wasn’t what we were looking for, but I think there were a lot more positives from the Bury game in midweek.
The result may have been the same but, even though that makes it two defeats, I think there were a lot more positives to take from Tuesday.
Obviously it’s a results business, though, and we’re well aware of that heading into the Doncaster game this weekend.
Gradual improvement is what it’s all about, and there have been signs we’re doing that.
I thought we played well against Bury, we just maybe needed to manage the game a bit better when we were 1-0 up.
That’s the sort of mentality you need if you want to be winning promotion, and something we need to learn.
But hopefully it will come.
I thought the fans were really behind us on Tuesday night, which is always great to see.
Sometimes fans can go against you when the performances and the results aren’t coming, but our fans were really up for it and you could tell they really wanted to get behind us.
We’re expecting Doncaster will give us a tough game on Sunday.
I think they’ll be a good team this year with some proven players like Nathan Tyson, who I know very well.
But we’re one of the ‘big’ names in this division, and we’ve got to make sure we live up to that reputation.
It’s all about establishing partnerships in the early part of the season, and I feel myself and Will Grigg are starting to show signs of developing an understanding.
We’re both staying in the hotel while we find houses up here, and we’re spending a lot of time together - which is a bit of a nightmare for me!
Seriously, he’s all right, and it does give us time to get to know each other.
On the field, we’re working out things like the kind of runs we like to make and the positions he likes to get in.
His movement is different class, and it’s probably more up to me to try and pick him out because he’s proved in recent seasons that he can score goals in this division given the right service.
It’s up to me and the other midfielders to make sure he gets the opportunities he needs, because if he gets isolated he isn’t going to score the amount of goals we’d like him to score.
Obviously me playing on the left and being right-footed, he knows I’m going to cut in a lot and looking to play the pass early, which will in turn affect the runs he makes.
We’ve only played a couple of games together but it seems to be working well so far, and hopefully it’s something that will continue to develop.
Playing in the League Cup in midweek took me back to one of the very best experiences of my career so far.
It was five years ago, but it still seems like yesterday when I was at Northampton and we beat Liverpool on penalties at Anfield.
I was only young, just breaking through into the team, and it was a massive eye-opener for me, in terms of the standard of football we were playing against.
And for me and Billy Mckay to score the goals that night was amazing.
I’ve actually known Billy for years - he only lives five or 10 minutes away from me back home, and we’ve always kept in touch.
When I knew my move to Wigan was starting to come together, I obviously spoke to him to get his thoughts on the club.
He said they were a good bunch of lads and he was absolutely right.
I also knew David Perkins from Blackpool last year and it’s worked out well for me on that score.
Having a few familiar faces makes it easier to settle in, and also having quite a few new faces helps as we’re all learning the ropes at the same time.
I’ve enjoyed my time here so far and hopefully I can build up a consistency of performance - and maybe find a proper pair of boots that’ll help me shoot properly!
* Michael Jacobs was talking to Paul Kendrick - who will it be next week???