The curse of the BBC struck at the DW on Saturday afternoon, for the fourth time this season Latics were the featured game on the Football League show and for the fourth time we suffered defeat. This time meaning the end of our un-beaten home record, there were some other interesting stats that came out of this loss. We have now lost three league games ahead of our Europa League commitments, only once have we picked up a win before the European games and that win over Huddersfield was followed by a loss to Rubin Kazan.
Europe comes in to sharp focus on Thursday night after what was a wholly disappointing performance on Saturday afternoon, the first half had started well for Owen Coyle’s side as a number of chances were created but once again an inability to finish meant that we were always susceptible to a Brighton attack that had scored six goals in their previous two games.
As it happened Wigan could and should have gone ahead, Grant Holt will be kicking himself after missing a gilt edged chance to put the Latics ahead which surely would have meant that another three points were heading our way. Grant hasn’t had an easy time of it since joining Wigan, injuries and a lack of fitness have contributed to a poor return on the £2.5million investment. Owen Coyle remains convinced he will score goals at this level, which is admirable but I have a nagging doubt about the Burly Cumbrian, he has all the pedigree to succeed with us and will hopefully be given time to make an impression.
It isn’t all doom and gloom at the DW, this season was always going to be an up-hill battle and the management have definitely put together a squad capable of doing well on both fronts, which makes the recent performances that touch more disappointing. Of course all of that will be forgotten on Thursday night if Latics can manage to get their second win in European competition and overcome Belgian league leaders Zulte Waregem. With Maribor facing Kazan earlier that evening we could have qualified for the knock-out stages of the Europa League by the end of play on Thursday evening.
Owen will no doubt shuffle his pack and I would hope to see the likes of Jean Beausejour and Roger Espinoza come in to freshen up a side that looked out on their feet on Saturday afternoon. With Marc Albrighton ineligible this would be the perfect time for Beausejour to come back in to the side and show the same sort of class he did against England at Wembley earlier this month.
Whatever happens on Thursday let’s get behind the lads and make it a night to remember.
Originally published in the Wigan Evening Post – Wednesday 27 – November