The 12th Man: Latics fans have their say

Wigan Athletic players celebrating the midweek win over Blackpool
Wigan Athletic players celebrating the midweek win over Blackpool

LATICS fans give their verdict on the FA Cup debacle at Bury, the JPT demolition of Blackpool, and this weekend’s televised trip to Rochdale:

What better way to get over a four-goal drubbing in the cup than to give someone a four-goal drubbing in the cup?

And that is exactly what the Latics did this past week.

A double-pronged assault on Wembley was ended abruptly at Bury last Saturday.

It was a very poor display, with no-one standing out, which left the travelling support – which made up just over a third of the total gate – extremely frustrated.

Moving on quickly to Tuesday, 10 changes to the starting XI and a much better performance from the so-called fringe players demolished a feeble Blackpool side in comfortable fashion.

In the end, the 4-0 score-line was quite flattering to the Seasiders.

Players with something to prove – Andy Kelllett, Jason Pearce, Don Cowie and Jordy Hiwula – and the rest certainly made their mark.

A very accomplished performance saw the Latics march forward into the northern area semi-final, and just two ties away from another trip to Wembley.

Without counting our chickens, the likes of Barnsley, Fleetwood and Morecambe should be obstacles we can overcome.

Keep April 3 free in your diaries – that is when the JPT final is scheduled to be played.

It was a fantastic gesture by the Latics to donate all the concessionary gate receipts from the game to Amelia Morris’ Christmas Fund – a whopping £1,400.

Best wishes to Amelia and her family. Hopefully you will have a beautiful Christmas.

We move on to League One action on Saturday, and a trip to Spotland to face Rochdale with the Sky Sports cameras in attendance.

This is the priority this campaign - promotion back to the Championship is vital for the club, and a win at a ground where we haven’t lost since 1997 would be a lovely boost to put pressure on the teams around us.

Up the ‘Tics!

BARRY WORTHINGTON

Tuesday night was the perfect remedy for us following our battering on Saturday at Bury.

Gary Caldwell made a number of changes to freshen up the team – and it worked. We had little to defend, had a lot of the ball and scored four goals, which makes it sound like more of a training-ground exercise than anything else.

In the end, it was probably the most comfortable victory we’ve had all season as well, with Blackpool offering very little resistance as we safely made

it into the semi- finals of the northern area. We are now just three games away from Wembley, and I wouldn’t be the only Wigan fan that would like another trip down to the capital at Wembley – as long as it doesn’t derail any progress we’ve been making in the league. But having seen what the squad is like, and how their attitude seems to be in the right place, I don’t think we need to worry about that. We have great strength in depth now and, having added to the team further with the signing of Alex Revell, it’s hard not to be optimistic for the rest of this season. We have a big game on Saturday away to Rochdale, live on Sky Sports, and I’m hoping we’ve a performance in store that will put a marker down to the other teams around us that Wigan are now starting to hit their

stride.

SAM WHYTE

LATICS progressed into the Northern semi-final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Blackpool on Tuesday night.

They are now only three games from another Wembley final and must be conscious that winning the Football League Trophy for a third time is realistic.

The draw for the Northern semi-final takes place tomorrow morning on Sky TV, and they will face either Barnsley, Fleetwood for Morecambe.

The depth of Latics’ squad is certainly having a beneficial effect in the JPT and this will surely help them to be successful in their bid for

promotion from League

One.

Gary Caldwell was able to make 10 changes from the team beaten at Bury in the FA Cup and they still ran out comfortable winners against Blackpool.

Wigan have one of the strongest squads in League One, with many players who have played at a higher level, so if they can sort out their defensive frailties they have a realistic chance of promotion.

Latics will renew old rivalries with Rochdale at the weekend in a rare televised game.

Rochdale spent most of their history in the bottom division and often teetered on the brink of oblivion.

But they are now established in League One and are hoping to challenge for a play-off spot this season.

In Keith Hill, they have a straight-talking manager who has done very well for the club.

After playing for Rochdale, Hill managed the club to their first promotion in 2010.

Then, after a brief sojourn as Barnsley manager, he returned to take charge at Spotland and helped win promotion to League One.

Rochdale finished eighth in League One last season, and will be looking to end a sequence of four league draws.

As Latics will be without internationals Will Grigg and Michael Love, they should not underestimate the Dale threat.

IAN ASPINALL

TUESDAY night’s JPT match against Blackpool was a chance for us to respond from the disappointment of the 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Bury.

Gary Caldwell named a much-changed team, but the team still got the job done and responded in emphatic fashion, racking up four goals of their own.

Not only did we move on from the Bury loss, but we’ve also given ourselves another massive chance of reaching Wembley.

Okay, the JPT final is no FA Cup final, but I don’t really think us Latics fans care about that.

We just want another trip to the national stadium.

And in all truth we SHOULD make it there, because on paper we are the best team in the northern area and the highest-ranked team in the competition.

To be fair, Fleetwood have been in half-decent form since Steven Pressley took over.

They even dumped out League One promotion favourites Sheffield United on penalties in midweek.

However, we have already defeated Town 2-1 at home this season and I can’t see a reason why we can’t do it again.

Barnsley are also left in the competition but, with no disrespect intended, I believe we have what it takes to see them off.

At the minute, Lee Johnson’s men are in the League One relegation zone and they scraped past League Two relegation candidates York 2-1 at home.

On the other hand, the other team left in the northern area are in a bit of form.

Morecambe are 11th in League Two, three points off the play-offs, and have knocked out League One outfits Bury and Rochdale away from home.

I still feel we have enough to see them off and, even though they’ve shown their discipline as a visiting team, I think they would struggle at the DW against our unbeaten home record.

We have a huge chance of getting to Wembley and I’m keeping quietly excited.

Anyone at home in the next round and I think we’ll be well on our way.

KIERAN MAKIN