Talking football: Looking ahead to Bolton Wanderers - and back on a year under Phoenix 2021 Limited for Wigan Athletic

If you think Wigan Athletic's campaign has so far been hectic, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Because from here on in there'll barely be time to pause for breath as the League One campaign comes to an exciting climax.

Read More
Wigan Athletic chief's 'little bit extra' motivation to beat Bolton Wanderers
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Saturday's visit of Bolton is the first of NINE matches in the space of 28 days that will decide the fate of Latics and their promotion rivals.

It's been a whirlwind 12 months for Latics under Phoenix 2021 Limited

And what better way to get back into the swing than a big derby against their closest rivals?

Hopefully it'll be a repeat of the 4-0 spanking inflicted on the Trotters back in October - which remains Latics' best performance of the campaign.

While Bolton did most of their talking off the field in the lead-up, Leam Richardson played a textbook straight bat to all lines of questioning.

And he sat back and watched his players do their talking where it counts - on the field.

With long-time League One leaders Rotherham in Papa John's Trophy final action this weekend - sniff, don't mention Sutton - Latics can return to the top of the pile with victory.

And if they can pick up where they left off, it won't matter what Rotherham and third-placed MK Dons do in their matches.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There isn't a single Latics fan who wouldn't have taken this situation at the start of the campaign.

A point behind Rotherham and three ahead of MK - with two games in hand on both - means Latics are red-hot favourites to return to the second tier.

Not that Richardson will allow any of his players to start believing the hype.

The Latics manager's cool, calm and collected exterior has been a feature of the campaign since the opening-day fixture at Sunderland.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Never too low after a defeat such as that.

Never too high after a victory - even one as emphatic as at Bolton.

The only meaningful league table will be the one after the final game on April 30.

Let's hope there's a 'P' - and even a 'C' by Latics' name on the ladder.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bolton have picked up markedly since the turn of the year boosted by a strong January window which bolstered their squad.

They've left themselves far too much to do to gatecrash the play-offs, but will settle instead for derailing their closest rivals' bandwagon.

To Richardson and his players, it will be 'just another game'.

One of 46, no bigger or smaller than any of the others.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

To the fans, of course, it's the big one - on both sides of the fence.

The atmosphere at both previous meetings this season has been electric, let's hope for another Lancashire hotpot at the dinnertime derby.

With pies rather than pasties being the order of the day.

It would be remiss not to mark this week's first anniversary of Phoenix 2021 Limited taking charge of Wigan Athletic.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After the most damaging nine months in their 88-year history - with the administrators selling off everything bar the soul of the club - the last year has been up there with the best

since 1932.

On and off the pitch, Latics are back - with as optimistic and positive a future as could have been imagined.

Long may the Phoenix from the flames fly high and proud.