Talking football: A lucky break for Wigan Athletic?
It seems an absolute age since Latics were last in action, when James Vaughan popped up late to secure three points against Rotherham.
I swear these international breaks get longer and longer every time!
While Will Grigg, Sam Morsy and a handful of youngsters have been away representing their countries, back at Euxton it’s been business as usual for Paul Cook.
And we’ll find out this weekend at Brentford whether the international break came at a good time or a bad time for the Tics.
It’s a question we always (lazily) ask of manager and players at this time of the campaign...and the truth is we’ll only know at 5pm on Saturday.
A positive result, and the break came at the perfect time, with Cook able to rest some legs that were weary and get some work into those who needed it.
A negative result, and the break came at the worst possible time, with all the momentum generated from the opening month having been ripped away.
The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
Yes, it was a shame Latics had to sign off for a fortnight, having picked up 10 points from their opening six matches, and playing some very decent stuff indeed on their return to the second tier.
But it was also a good opportunity for Cook to take stock of the situation, get a few players – including Dan Burn, Darron Gibson and Joe Garner – closer to full match fitness/sharpness, and also allow the new arrivals over the summer to further bed in off the field.
Chey Dunkley hit the nail on the head earlier this week when he stressed the importance of getting rid of any lethargy well before the weekend.
Latics proved last season they could dip below their standards and still pick up results in League One.
That is quite simply not an option in the Championships, where the opposition is that little bit faster, stronger, more savvy.
But if the players can maintain their performance levels they’ve shown to date, they can certainly consolidate their 10th position in the table.
They have another block of six matches now until the next international break in October.
After the trip to Brentford, it’s Hull (h),Bristol City (h), Norwich (a), Swansea (h) and Preston (a).
Certainly not as tough as the opening half-dozen fixtures that Latics have already negotiated.
A similar points return would give Latics the perfect platform to attack the rest of the campaign, and the positive way they’re being sent out by the manager allows them every opportunity to hopefully do that.
Well what a surprise...Will Grigg finally gets on the field for Northern Ireland and immediately finds the back of the net!
Almost two years since his last appearance, the Latics striker wasted little time in sending a message to national boss Michael O’Neill.
Whatever the reason for Grigg’s omission since November 2016, the main thing is he’s back in the fold – and the goals. Which will hopefully ensure he returns to Wigan with an extra spring in his step.
Great to see young Joe Gelhardt adding to his growing reputation by starring for England Under-17s over the past week.
Also very interesting to see one of his team-mates was none other than fellow Latics Academy star Jensen Weir.
Yep, the very same Jensen Weir who, until recently, captained SCOTLAND at Under-16 level.
Jensen, who last season became the youngest player ever to play for Latics, is the son of former Rangers, Everton and Scotland defender David Weir.
Clearly of Scottish stock, but brought up south of the border thanks to his father’s playing career, he obviously has dual nationality.
And as a result has every right to explore all of his options before nailing his colours to the mast by playing in a full competitive international.
That decision will be Jensen’s, and Jensen’s alone.
But what another impressive string to the bow of the Latics Academy to have TWO of their talented youngsters making huge strides at international level.