Wigan Athletic: The 12th Man

Josh Windass
Josh Windass

Our panel of Latics have their say on defeat in the FA Cup at Leicester...followed by FA Youth Cup success over Tottenham...ahead of this weekend's vital visit of Bristol City...

Caddy from the 5:

Last weekend saw a welcome break from the league and a trip to Leicester in the FA Cup,a cup that Leicester have never won, unlike us, as the Tics fans reminded them. Surely it was a chance for Gelhardt to start and show us what he could do for 90 minutes instead of his usual cameo appearances? So when I arrived in the ground (20 minutes late because there’s a cracking bar right near the away end) it was Windass up front as usual. I really don’t get this, nothing to do with Josh, surely Cook knows what he can do in matches – why not start the lad all the Tics fans wanted to see? When he came on it was the biggest cheer of the evening from the away end. The game for me was poor, they really didn’t need to get out of 2nd gear to beat us and I think we went out with a whimper, starting the new lad in midfield (can’t remember his name) and Pearce, great goal btw, at the back was a good call – so why not Gelhardt? I’d made my way back to that pub before Lowe ‘scored’ but seeing it later I’m sure we’re all in agreement that VAR can go back to where it came from and stay there. It’s an absolute farce, used in some Cup ties but not others, where’s the fair play in that? Celebrating a goal (which we don’t do often) will be a thing of the past soon enough, it’s another nail in sanitising the game for me and needs chucking in the bin.

Back to the coal face this weekend with Bristol City and their 450 fans coming to the DW. I mention their numbers because their fans ridiculed our numbers down there for a Sunday TV game earlier in the season. Surely being a massive club and City they’ll bring more? Anyway, enough about crowds. They’re in awful form and I know I keep saying it but somebody is going to get a pasting soon when we finally click (crosses fingers) and here’s hoping it will be on Saturday. A little side note to our trip on Saturday to Leicester, if you’ve never been to Loughborough before for an afternoon, try it. It’s a great town with plenty watering holes and friendly people.

Sean Livesey:

A glimmer of hope? It’s been a while since I sat down and put pen to paper or rather fingers to keys, regarding the most frustrating football club in the country. In that time we’ve once again been the better team in all of our league matches, playing Blackburn and Nottingham Forest off the pitch yet only managing one point and slipping to defeat again against Forest when it looked like we would finally get that crucial first away win. Thankfully Latics didn’t keep us waiting long for that crucial win as we put Birmingham to the sword at St Andrews. Ironically it was probably the poorest of all our recent performances but the difference this time came in that we put our chances away. We made that domination count and that is so important as we look to continue progressing up the league table.

Paul Cook has faced some horrific criticism this season, in a lot of cases criticism that is extremely valid. But fair play to the gaffer he has stuck to his guns in terms of team selection over the festive period and those much maligned players finally rewarded him. Josh Windass is such an enigmatic player, clearly a talent but one that too many times flatters to deceive. He was excellent against Birmingham as was Jamal Lowe and Cedric Kipre who got the all important third goal and with the calming influence of Kal Naismith alongside him is growing in stature each week. We can write Leicester off, certainly if VAR was happy writing off our more than valid goal back on Saturday evening. Let’s concentrate on finally putting a run of results together and climbing that table.

Next up is Bristol City, Lee Johnson’s side haven’t been in the best of form as of late and like ourselves have an extensive injury list. Latics need to pick up three points at the DW and make it back to back league wins. We haven’t left ourselves much wiggle room over the next few months and every game will count. Beginning with Saturday’s match at the DW. Could a new year bring new optimism and some better results at the Dave Whelan Stadium? Although things haven’t been going too well of late at first team level it’s in stark contrast to the fortunes of our youth team with an U18 side featuring Jensen Weir and Joe Gelhardt knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the FA Youth Cup. Alongside that the club’s new academy facility ‘Stadium Way’ is up and running. The plans and visions from the late 2000s are finally being fulfilled and hopefully Wigan Athletic can become self sufficient both in terms of players and finances.