It’s been a nightmare season so far but there is some evidence to suggest that the dark days may be coming to an end. Saturday’s improved second half performance against Blackburn Rovers has given me renewed hope that Latics can avoid the drop.
Rovers are pressing for a play-off spot but Latics could have taken all three points after the introduction of Shaun Maloney and Emyr Huws gave them a second half boost.
Maloney looks likely to sign for Chicago Fire in the MLS at the end of his contract but his contribution until then will have a major bearing on which league Latics are in next season.
He provided the free-kick for James McClean’s headed equaliser and was in the right place at the right time to clear off the line in the dying stages. His creativity and undoubted quality from dead ball situations could be a vital ingredient in Wigan’s survival campaign.
Emyr Huws made a welcome return from his injury lay off and showed why Uwe Rosler secured his services from Manchester City on a four-year contract. The 21-year-old Welsh International added much needed verve to the midfield and he should start against Huddersfield this Saturday.
Danish international William Kvist made his first full start for Malky Mackay against Rovers and he added a greater composure to the midfield. His experience is likely to be invaluable as Latics look to move away from the drop zone.
Ali Al-Habsi will be returning to the club following his Asian Cup adventures and I believe it is time he was given an opportunity in the team. His heroics in the FA Cup tie at Bolton demonstrated why he is a top keeper.
His shot-stopping abilities are exceptional, and now is the time for a change between the sticks after Scott Carson’s recent indifferent performances.
Malky Mackay has stated his determination to sign a new striker in the transfer window but ironically James McClean and Martyn Waghorn could prove the answer to Wigan’s goal scoring problems.
The duo showed signs that they could be forging a dangerous partnership upfront after only two games playing together.
It looks as though Callum McManaman might be on his way to West Bromwich Albion, but the Baggies will have to increase their offer of £4.5m if the winger is to be released by Latics.
It would be sad to see one of Wigan’s FA Cup winners leave but a fee of around £6m would be a great return for a player who has unfortunately been inconsistent and never fully realised his potential.
Reinforcements are still needed to improve the squad and the money received would go a long way towards helping the manager’s rebuilding plans in the transfer window.
The last six months have been a difficult time to be a Wigan Athletic fan but there are now signs of recovery and a feeling that the great escape can be achieved.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on 23rd January 2015.