Wigan Athletic: The 12th Man

Paul Cook
Paul Cook

Our panel of Latics experts give their verdict as the Championship takes a break for the first international break of the campaign.

Mike Goodman: I didn’t expect a performance as bad as what was served up at Barnsley, wasn’t the best of games to watch last week, but it’s another point on the board, a clean sheet and it stops the run of consecutive defeats. David Marshall was brilliant in goal and made some top saves, Charlie Mulgrew played well on his debut, and Jamal Lowe seems to be getting better each game he plays. Hopefully we can build on this going into the Hull game. It was still disappointing leaving the ground last week though, we just looked lost going forward. Special mention to Dimitri Cavare for Barnsley, who had Michael Jacobs in his pocket very early on and looked a real talent both in defence and attack - what a talent he is! It was also interesting to see Joe Gelhardt being linked with half of the clubs in the Premier League once again this week. You’d like to think when he does eventually make the step up to the promised land, he will have scored a few goals to help bump up his price tag by an extra £2million or so. You can see what a special talent he is and surely it won’t be too much longer before he makes his first start for us. With our away form being what it is, I’d be open to seeing him start next week away at Hull. He doesn’t seem to have any fear when he plays, is positive on the ball and always looks to score. He did well coming off the bench against Barnsley and, if he did start the game next week, it may be the spark we need to kick-start our season. As the old saying goes, if you’re good enough you’re old enough.

Caddy from the 5: Well it’s international break weekend, so Paul Cook has a weekend off from the boo boys. Unfortunately, Kal Naismith doesn’t and has been blamed by some for not bowling well to Steve Smith at Old Trafford. The game against Barnsley wasn’t ‘a classic’ shall we say. But the positives from the game were a clean sheet and Strongbow on draught.
Barnsley were the better side I thought, and there were no complaints here about us getting another point towards automatic promotion. Next game up for us is Hull, hardly a fixture that’ll have the purists swarming to the KCom or whatever it’s called nowadays. So charging ‘Tics fans £30 for a ticket is head scratching to say the least. Surely ‘twenty’s plenty’ as they say in the Prem? Our away numbers have defo taken a hit so far this season, as the ‘away days’ social media constantly reminds us without actually asking why. Simply putting a pic up of the few loyal fans that made the trip to Boro (also £30) on a Tuesday night and ridiculing them and the club as an easy target...oh well, we’ve heard all the japes before. I’m still with Cook, and hopefully this two-week break will gel the players. We’re not a bad squad, as the Cardiff game showed. We just need some consistency - the manager knows that and so do we. Let’s just stick together and get through this sticky patch, and always remember...UP THE TICS! I’m off for a ‘Bow.

Sean Livesey: Well at least we didn’t lose - that was about all the positivity I could muster at full-time last week. So horrific has August been for Paul Cook’s side that a point at home to Barnsley was seen as a positive result, we know it wasn’t enough. Not by a long stretch but at least it did stop the rot. Still looking at Saturday on a positive slant at least we kept a clean sheet, one of the disappointing elements of form over the start of the season was the defensive displays and those primarily of David Marshall. It’s been a rocky start for the Scotland international and despite the praise showered on him from the Hull fans disappointed to see him leave, it’s been anything but a perfect start for our new number one. In fact it wouldn’t have surprised anyone in the DW on Saturday if Jamie Jones had started ahead of Marshall, but Cook showed faith with his new signing and he repaid the manager with his best display in a Latics shirt yet. A number of excellent saves and a much more steady display all around, was that inspired by his Scotland team mate Charlie Mulgrew making his debut at the heart of the Latics defence? It wouldn’t surprise me - alongside Marshall, Mulgrew was another impressive addition to the Latics starting eleven on Saturday. He was at the heart of all of our best chances (strange for a centre half) and was strong in the tackle and showed composure on the ball. He may be 33 but for as long as he’s fit he needs to be in our back line, his composure and experience surely helped the rest of the back line to earn Latics their first clean sheet of the season. So to the future, our next game is away at Hull and nothing other than a positive result will do for Paul Cook. Hull haven’t made the best of starts like ourselves. We’ve stopped the rot now, so the next step is to start picking up some wins and climbing that league table. It’s been a difficult start, no it’s been a horrendous start but there’s plenty of time for us to turn it around. There’ll be many interested bystanders to see if Paul Cook can indeed turn this around. The gaffer spoke ahead of the Barnsley game and indeed post-match that he saw his future only at Wigan Athletic. It would be a shame to see all the good done since his appointment in 2017 undone but the gaffer knows better than anyone that he needs to deliver results. Let’s hope this International break has come at the right time and Latics can start producing those results.