12th Man: Happy Hunting

Warren Joyce

So it’s back over the Pennines on Saturday afternoon and a return to Oakwell which has been a happy hunting ground of late for the Latics. Possibly the high point of Owen Coyle’s short tenure came at Barnsley as the relegated FA Cup winners came away from Oakwell with a 4-0 win.

Last season’s match at Barnsley could arguably have been considered a turning point in our season, going in to the game Gary Caldwell’s side had failed to win in four games with a damaging defeat to Blackpool in the previous game leaving any thoughts of promotion right at the back of the mind.

Goals from Andy Kellett and Yanic Wildschut saw Latics take all three points and the win over Barnsley was the catalyst for an unbeaten run of 19 games that saw us reach the top of the league and become favourites for promotion. Can this weekend’s match with Barnsley act as a similar catalyst?

Warren Joyce has now had a full two weeks with his team and will hopefully be better prepared to deal with what Barnsley throw at us. There have been positive sounds coming out of training from the senior players over the last week and an acceptance from Stephen Warnock that they let Gary Caldwell down. Whether you agree with that or not hopefully the club can now move forward under Warren Joyce’s tutelage and start to move up the Championship league table.

Joyce can’t expect to be judged on the Reading defeat with so little time with the squad beforehand so hopefully we’ll get more of an insight in to how his Wigan Athletic side will line up over the coming months after Saturday’s game.

Interesting sounds came out of the press last week with rumours circulating that Paul Scholes would be named as part of Warren Joyce’s coaching staff.

As of yet those rumours haven’t come to fruition and with a comfortable job with BT Sport and a lack of coaching badges it remains to be seen whether someone like Scholes would even consider taking a job with Latics.

It will come as no surprise that Wigan Athletic were named the cheapest club in the Championship in this year’s BBC Price of Football survey. The most expensive season ticket at Latics was also the cheapest in the league which shows just what good value it is to watch Latics and how lucky we are to have an ownership structure who recognise the need to keep football affordable.

If we can get the on pitch side of things right we can still be in for a decent season.

Sean Livesey

First published in the Wigan Evening Post, Friday 18th November