I’m trying to remain optimistic, but it’s proving to be a very difficult task. Wigan’s current form is abysmal and it isn’t showing any signs of abating. Just how long can Wigan’s malaise continue?
The introduction of a new manager was expected to give the club a boost, but the exact opposite seems to have happened. After a decent performance against Middlesbrough in Malky Mackay’s first game in charge results have gone downhill.
Yes we managed to get three points at Leeds United on Boxing Day, but those of us who were at Elland Road know that Wigan were very lucky that day as Leeds wasted a hatful of goal scoring opportunities during a second half onslaught.
A succession of home defeats to Norwich, Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday has dumped Wigan in the relegation zone and results are showing no signs of improvement.
The performance in the first 30 minutes at Birmingham was the worst by any Latics team in a very long time. They did rally at the end of the first and beginning of the second half but the team’s inadequacies are all too evident.
New loan signing Liam Ridgewell didn’t look match fit and made a succession of misplaced passes which put the team under pressure. Mackay’s judgement in introducing a player who didn’t appear ready for first team action must be called into question.
The transfer window provides an opportunity to improve our position and new signings should not be exacerbating Wigan’s difficulties.
Mackay is making some poor choices both in transfers and in the selection of his starting eleven. Few players apart from James McClean and James Perch emerged with much credit from St Andrews. These two are clearly putting in the effort but many of the others are not prepared to fight for the shirt.
The departure of Shaun Maloney to Leicester for around £1m has only deepened the gloom. Maloney is Wigan’s most creative player and he should not have been allowed to leave at a critical phase of the season and when the team is in desperate need of his quality.
Bringing in a transfer fee is not the priority when we are fighting to save our Championship status. The manager should have held onto him until the end of the season and then he could have been released with our best wishes.
Only three players, Boyce, McManaman and Watson, now remain from the team that won the FA Cup in May 2013.
There is little news of incomings at the time of going to press and with two weeks of the transfer deadline remaining a striker remains the top priority. Latics had been linked with Sunderland’s misfiring striker Danny Graham but even that rumour has now gone quiet.
In a recent press conference Mackay was asked whether a striker was a priority, the manager replied: “Yes, absolutely, and if you come up with one then give me a shout!” This may have been said in jest, but equally it reflects the desperate situation we are in.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on 16th January 2015.