Latics fans will be travelling down to Watford on Saturday more in hope than expectation of getting a good result. The signs are not looking good for Wigan as they slumped to a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Norwich City in their last game while Watford who are currently in the play-off zone produced an emphatic 5-0 victory at Fulham.
Latics were toothless in attack against Norwich and despite dominating possession in the second half they looked incapable of getting an equaliser.
Malky must address the lack of goals immediately or they will continue to struggle. Latics have produced a pitiful tally of only 20 goals in 20 matches this season and their top scorer Callum McManaman has only five goals. Midfielder Shaun Maloney has two, while our strikers Marc-Antoine Fortune, Oriol Riera, Martyn Waghorn and Andy Delort have only managed four between them.
In comparison the Hornets have scored 36 goals and have a potent central strike force in Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra who have scored seven goals each this season. They are backed up by goal scoring midfielders/forwards Almen Abdi five goals and Daniel Tozser and Fernando Forestieri who have scored four each. The contrast between Watford and Latics forward lines is a stark one.
Deeney was picked up for a relatively modest £500,000 from Walsall in 2010 and has scored 63 goals in 179 appearances for Watford. Vydra is a Czech Republic international who won the Championship Player of the Year in 2012/13 and is currently on loan from Udinese. He‘s in his second loan spell with Watford and has hit the net 27 times in 59 appearances.
Wigan shelled out around £5m for strikers Riera from Osasuna and Delort from Tours but neither has been given much game time to show what they can do. Malky has used Fortune as the one central striker since taking over as manager and although he will want to be defensively strong at Vicarage Road, surely it is time to try something different upfront?
A new central striker partnership of Riera and Delort or Fortune could provide the cutting edge that Latics have been missing. The summer transfer signings should be given their opportunity to see if they can make a difference. A fresh approach in attack is now required if Malky is to get his first win in charge.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 12th December 2014.