Wigan Athletic: Five things we learned from Reading (a)
1 Revenge is a dish best served cold
Paul Cook played down any suggestions the clash with Reading would have any extra spice, given the two previous meetings between the two sides, both of which had left a sour taste in the mouth. In the corresponding fixture last season, Latics twice led at the Madesjki before losing by the odd goal in five - with Cook being told by a referees' chief that all three Royals goals should not have stood. Then, earlier this season at the DW, Latics were in front after 79 minutes before a hotly-disputed penalty turned the game in the favour of the visitors, who five minutes later were 3-1 up and out of sight. This time, Latics followed in the footsteps of Tyson Fury against Deontay Wilder. They didn't leave it to chance, to the whim of an official. They took matters into their own hands, outclassing and then eventually knocking out a Reading side who are now one of nine teams in what promises to be the most exciting relegation dogfight in years.
2 Lightning strikes twice (part 1)
Anyone thinking Kieffer Moore's sublime backheel flick against Cardiff earlier in the month was a fluke would have been silenced at the sight of the Welshman's opening goal at the Madejski, which was - a rarity for a sequel - even better than the original. With the Euros on the horizon this summer, Moore is clearly full of confidence and benefiting from the ball being played in to him with skill and accuracy. Rather than being launched into him from all distances, directions and angles as it was for the first half of the campaign.
3 Lightning strikes twice (part 2)
Despite Latics giving their survival hopes another huge shot in the arm, the mood at full-time was mixed to say the least. The sight of big Chey Dunkley being stretchered off the field, put into an ambulance and rushed to hospital with a suspected broken leg took most of the gloss off arguably the best performance of the season. It was the same trip taken by Shaun MacDonald less than three years earlier, with the Welshman effectively losing the next two years of his career as he recovered from a badly broken leg. To make matters worse, Dunkley is out of contract at the end of the season - a sobering reminder that the life of a footballer is not all glitz and glamour. Fingers crossed the big man - one of the most popular members of the dressing room - is able to make a swift and full recovery, and comes back stronger from his setback.
4 And then there were two
There's been no more consistent performer in Wigan's recent resurgence than Sam Morsy, who was voted player of the month for January and has to be a frontrunner for the February award as well. What's even more impressive is, since December 23, he's been one booking short of a two-game suspension. Nathan Byrne's booking at Reading also took him to nine bookings - with two games to go until the cut-off point for suspensions. Latics desperately need Morsy, and Byrne, on the field rather than sat in the stands, and they need to keep their noses clean against West Brom and Luton to remain available to Paul Cook.
5 Battle of the titans
This weekend's clash at West Brom will see the two hottest teams in the Championship going head to head. No-one will be surprised to learn the Baggies are top of the form table over the last seven matches, having picked up 16 points. But Paul Cook's Latics are the best of the rest, with 14 points accrued from the same period. And if Slaven Bilic's side underestimate their visitors even slightly, they risk being undone by a side who have already won at Leeds this month - and who are brimming with confidence and belief. The fact Latics remain in the bottom three despite their sparkling form says much about how hard the rest of the sides at the bottom are also fighting for the lives.