Wigan Athletic: Five things we learned from Barnsley (a)

Paul Kendrick reflects on five talking points from Wigan Athletic's 0-0 draw against Barnsley at Oakwell...
Calm before the storm at OakwellCalm before the storm at Oakwell
Calm before the storm at Oakwell

1 We fight on! The character and passion of the club and the town has been shown off the field in the last week or two. And Paul Cook's side showed every bit as much of that on the field at Oakwell. It was a game low on quality but high on tension, with the Tykes knowing it was absolutely must-win to have any hopes of avoiding the drop. They flew at Latics and gave it everything, but the visitors managed to weather the storm and, in the end, might even have nicked it themselves. When the likes of Antonee Robinson are flying into challenges and sending opponents up in the air, you know the lads are up for it. Overall, definitely a point gained, because...

2 No-one wants to stay up! ...not for the first time this season, results elsewhere certainly went in Wigan's favour. From rock-bottom Luton's win on Friday night, which kept Huddersfield under 50 points, we then saw both Middlesbrough and Hull lose very winnable home games on Saturday. With Latics preventing Barnsley picking up a vital victory, the point was certainly one gained rather than two dropped for Paul Cook. With the best goal difference at the bottom, two wins from the last three could well do it - even with the looming points deduction.

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3 Keeping ahead of the game! Tuesday's visit of Hull will see David Marshall come face to face with the club he left last summer to move to Wigan. It wasn't the smoothest transition for the Scotland No.1 who, it's very hard to believe now, was jeered during the corresponding fixture at the KC last September by a section of his own support, who chanted the name of Jamie Jones. Fast-forward nine months, and Brentford's Said Benrahma - the best player in the Championship - is the only player to have scored against Marshall in the last 935 minutes of action, stretching all the way back to February's 2-2 draw at Cardiff. A phenomenal effort that has underpinned the upturn in fortunes.

4 Kal of Duty! Ironically, the last player to beat David Marshall before Benrahma was Kal Naismith, who unfortunately put through his own goal via a wicked deflection. It's possibly the only blemish on his copybook this season. The ex-Portsmouth man is another who's taken time to win over the fans, but his versatility means he is effectively three players in one. Starting up front just behind Kieffer Moore at Barnsley, he was drafted into the heart of the defence to allow a change in formation. And with Danny Fox's imminent three-game ban - in addition to injuries to Chey Dunkley and Leon Balogun - Naismith, also an accomplished left-back, looks set to finish the season alongside Cedric Kipre. Worth his weight in gold.

5 Running on empty? If anything's going to stop this Latics side achieving their goal - of securing their Championship safety for a SECOND time - it could well be fatigue. Paul Cook insisted in the week tiredness in the squad wasn't a factor at the moment. But on the evidence of Saturday, and last Wednesday's win over QPR, there's quite a few players who are beginning to feel the effects of a tortuous schedule. Which is also risking potential muscle injuries. Training at Euxton this week will probably consist of little more than a head count and TLC. There's three matches to go - 270 minutes of action. Then they can have all the rest they need (and deserve). One more effort lads. You can do it!