Double reward for Wigan Athletic management

Ryan Colclough gets stuck in against Rochdale
Ryan Colclough gets stuck in against Rochdale

Leam Richardson admitted the three points and clean sheet were the only two things that mattered about Wigan Athletic’s 1-0 victory over Rochdale.

With seven changes to the side that knocked Manchester City out of the FA Cup five days earlier, Latics struggled to get into their rhythm against rock-bottom Rochdale.

But they picked up all three points thanks to Michael Jacobs’ 12th-minute striker, which keeps them three points adrift of League One leaders Blackburn - with three games in hand.

“The most pleasing thing was the three points, but a close second was another clean sheet,” acknowledged the Latics assistant boss.

“The lads were putting their bodies on the line there, producing block after block, because they put us under a lot of pressure.

“Credit to the lads for sticking at it, as we knew they would, and proving as resolute as ever.

“It’s a saying in football, but your biggest game is always your next one.

“It wasn’t easy to take the focus away from Monday and into this one.

“And it was similar for Rochdale, who also have their FA Cup tie against Tottenham to think about.

“A lot of people might have been looking at this fixture as a bit of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show.

“But Rochdale were in the same boat, and I thought they went about their task excellently.”

It was a special day for Donervon Daniels, who was making his first league start for Latics this term, having missed virtually all of last season through injury, and who spent the first half of this term on loan at Rochdale.

“It’s been tough for Donervon with his injuries, and we needed him to go out on loan to get games,” recognised Richardson.

“With fitness under his belt, the plan was for him to come back to us and hopefully affect our season.

“In games like this we needed him to come in and he did fantastic.”

There’s no rest for Latics, who are in action tomorrow night against Bristol Rovers.

Captain Sam Morsy will be available again after completing a two-game ban but, with Latics winning their last couple of games without conceding a goal, Richardson says no-one can take anything for granted.

“Ha, we’ll make sure Sammy’s aware of the stats,” he laughed.

“But he’s one of them, he’s a true captain, and he’ll have kicked every ball with the lads, as he did on Monday.

“It ‘s been great to see over the last week the lads who haven’t played - like Sam, like Powelly - in there with the rest of the lads, showing support. It’s a team effort.”