12th Man: Seaside memories

Wigan at Blackpool

With a trip to the seaside in the offing this weekend thoughts turn to that heady day in April 2011 when Roberto Martinez’s Wigan Athletic showed the fight and desire needed to turn around their season.

The 3-1 win over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road showed the side’s true class that had been sadly lacking most of the 2010/2011 season and led on to the dramatic finish to that season with the wins over West Ham United and Stoke City that would secure another season of Premier League football for the Latics.

Time’s change and it’s a very different Wigan Athletic that head to Bloomfield Road for the early kick off on Saturday afternoon. Gone are the architects of that win, but two of the survivors from that win could have a big part to play this coming Saturday.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the last few weeks has been the form of the players that Owen Coyle inherited. Ben Watson and Emmerson Boyce have once again shown their class and in a period where the games have been coming quick and fast it’s been pleasing to see Ben and Emmerson alongside Jordi Gomez get plenty of game time and influence our last two results.

It won’t be an easy game on Saturday, Paul Ince has sculptured a side that are big on strength and power if not finesse. This Blackpool side certainly aren’t as expansive as they were under Ian Holloway but what they lack for in goals they have made up for in defensive solidarity.

It will be up to Owen Coyle’s side to break down that defence, against both Maribor and Blackburn the lads showed that they have goals in them. With Grant Holt’s return to fitness it will be interesting to see if he starts against Blackpool, this could certainly be a game for a player like Holt to bully that strong Blackpool defence.

Our home form has been outstanding this season but apart from the opening day win over Barnsley it’s been a frustrating period on the road for the Latics. This is something that will need to change if our targets in the league are to be met, let’s hope the lads can do it this Saturday.

Originally published in the Wigan Evening Post – Wednesday 16th October