12th Man: Let’s build on this

James McClean

What a difference a week makes for Uwe Rosler and Wigan Athletic, confidence was at an all-time low as the Latics headed to the midlands to face top of the league Derby. Many expected the worst and that was compounded after the team was news was announced with up to five changes from the drab 0-0 draw with Millwall.

Social media was awash with calls for Uwe Rosler to be fired, those same calls weren’t there at full time as Uwe and his under pressure side produced a display reminiscent to the best of what we saw last season. The fact that Latics scored twice against a side that hadn’t conceded in six games prior to last Saturday’s game and ended an unbeaten run that had stretched from the middle of August shouldn’t be dismissed.

When a performance was needed the lads dug in and produced it in fantastic style as super sub James McClean made it clear to the manager why he believed he should have started.

Some people would say that Rosler would have been sacked if we hadn’t won on Saturday but then you have to look at the investment provided in this side and in Uwe Rosler by the club and in particular the amount of young talent brought through. The club backed Rosler in the summer and they will give as much time as possible to ensure it works they won’t be rushed in to a decision the likes of that could alter the whole course of the club for years to come.

Uwe has probably bought some time from the supporters with the victory over Derby, it was similar in style to the smash and grab wins away from home over Ipswich and Brighton last year. The key for everyone now is to build on this and to make sure it wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

The next three games are against sides below us in the table, culminating in the local derby with them from over the hill. What an opportunity to start climbing that table and building some momentum.

Let’s hope the lads grasp that opportunity with both hands.

12th Man: The tipping point

The tipping pointUwe Rosler

So another week passes and Wigan Athletic’s wait for a win goes on, I spoke last week about only six points being acceptable from the games against Brentford and Millwall -two was what we got. We remain unbeaten in four but without a win in eight, if the pressure on Uwe Rosler was cranked up in recent weeks it hit tipping point on Tuesday night.

It’s probably fair to say that the majority of support has now turned against the manager or at least many are now questioning whether Uwe is indeed the right man for the job. His supporters; me included refer back to last season and that glorious spell from where he took over up to and including the FA Cup semi-final where he picked up a team that was on the floor and turned them in to world beaters. Whatever he did then he needs to do again and we need to quickly re-discover what made us great last season.

Has the manager tried to change things too quickly this season? Quite possibly, last year he gave the team a focus and a style. This year we’ve had neither. There are worrying rumours of player unrest but these are only that – rumours. The players publically at least can’t speak highly enough of the club and the team spirit within the club.

There are still things to be positive about even with our recent run of form, the return of Maynor Figueroa was one no one was expecting and should help to add more quality to the backline. The side are unbeaten in four games and haven’t conceded in three of those. The aforementioned defence looks a lot stronger than it did previously and the midfield is starting to dominate games. If we can build on that and start to add much needed creativity and goals to our game we can turn things around.

But time is quickly running out for Wigan Athletic’s season and Uwe Rosler’s future.

Rosler himself is bullish as you would expect him to be; he described himself as a fighter earlier this week and explained that he had taken bullets before. Let’s hope that he can arrest the alarming slide without receiving the bullet from Dave Whelan and Jonathan Jackson.

 First published in the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 24th October 2014

12th Man: Old Spirit

Wigan Athletic midfielder Adam Forshaw with manager Uwe Rosler

Another international break over and done with – the last time we returned to action after an international break we were full of optimism and why not? Latics entered that break with two wins on the bounce, one a thoroughly impressive 4-0 demolition of Birmingham City and a number of exciting new signings following the closure of the transfer window.

If the defeat that followed at Blackburn had us worried worse was to come with further defeats to Ipswich and Bournemouth in the weeks following. The pressure looked to be reaching tipping point for Uwe Rosler a couple of weeks ago, and as ridiculous as it sounds many suspected the gaffers job to be on the line. Two decent performances albeit draws against sides at the top of the league seem to have helped the stop the rot and Uwe has said the season starts as of now.

And how true we need that to be, I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to suggest the next week could shape our season. We’re about to enter a run of six fixtures in the next four weeks ahead of the next international break. The target has to be six points from the next two games – that of course is easier said than done.

Brentford will be coming to the North West hoping to get one over their former manager and with the Adam Forshaw saga fresh in everyone’s minds it is the ideal scenario to give Uwe and the Latics a kick. But the Latics will be fired up as well, Uwe’s talents as a manager have been questioned over the last few weeks and how better to answer those critics with a win over his former side.

The players sound fired up with Callum McManaman and Adam Forshaw in particular looking forward to getting back to action and with a resounding friendly win over Rotherham last week fresh in the minds where the likes of the aforementioned Forshaw and McManaman along with Riera and Tavernier played 90 minutes it sounds like we’re in decent shape to finally get our season underway.

I’m looking forward to the game on Saturday,  I took part in a Brentford podcast earlier this week and it was refreshing to hear the Brentford fans talk about their climb up the leagues and how exciting it is to see their side perform in the Championship. Brentford remind me of us back in 2003/2004 when we first came up to the Championship. We could do with a bit of that old fighting spirit right now, let’s hope we can see it this weekend and finally get our season underway.

First published in the Wigan Evening Post Friday October 17th 2014