Wigan Athletic 'almost like a new club', says shoot-out hero
Jamie Jones admits the feel-good factor surrounding Wigan Athletic at the moment makes it seem like 'a new club'.
The club captain was one of the heroes in midweek as Latics booked their place in the third round of the Carabao Cup thanks to a penalty shoot-out victory over local rivals Bolton.
After keeping a clean sheet in the stalemate, Jones then saved well from Kieran Lee in the shoot-out to cancel out a miss from namesake Jordan Jones.
But the drama was only just beginning, with the custodian then placing the ball on the spot and - just as he'd done at Hull in the last round - lashing into the roof of the net to nose Latics ahead.
He then watched as Nathan Delfouneso blazed his spot-kick over the bar to send Latics through.
And the euphoria in the stadium at the end underlined what a remarkable upturn in fortunes since the recent takeover by Phoenix 2021 Limited.
“It's almost like a new club and the turnaround has been outstanding," acknowledged Jones.
"We can't thank the owners enough for that after last season and turning it around.
“Some of the players we have on the pitch tonight...even though there were seven changes, that team could easily start a league game.
"And that's down to the recruitment and the owners."
One of the stand-out performers was midfielder Scott Smith - the captain of the Under-23s, and a born and bred Wiganer to boot - while fellow Academy graduate Thelo Aasgaard impressed off the bench.
“The young lads are stepping up and that's why they're here because they are good footballers," recognised Jones.
"When they get the chance like this, they must take it.
“Scott Smith is a local lad and this night will have been special for him, as it was for me and all the other lads.”
Jones also reserved special praise for the 7,000 home supporters in a bumper crowd of almost 12,000, which set the tone for a real cup-tie atmosphere from the off.
“That one was for the fans,” Jones added.
“They were absolutely amazing tonight. It was an outstanding atmosphere, and they were brilliant throughout and gave us a lift.
“They didn't create much and that was down to the support we had behind us.
"It's amazing to have fans back cheering us on and it was like having a 12th man.”
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