Latics home form was once again their downfall against Leeds United and the odds are now stacked against Championship survival. Eight points from safety with ten games remaining it will be a tall order to escape the drop, but Latics have done it many times in the past and they could still do it again.
The current away form is very good with three victories at Reading, Blackpool and Norwich City. Wigan have been doing better on the road, usually when a counter attacking approach is required.
Saturday’s opponents Rotherham United are nine points ahead of Wigan and they will be a tough nut to crack. They know that if they avoid defeat they will maintain the nine-point gap between the two sides.
I’m sure Rotherham’s notorious manager Steve Evans will try every trick in the book to get one over on Wigan. His harassment of the match officials at the DW Stadium in December was something to behold and his track record suggests he is unlikely to change his ways anytime soon.
But Latics are often at their best when the odds are stacked against them. Who can forget Paul Jewell’s team winning the final game of the 2006/07 season against Sheffield United to stay up, or Hugo Rodallega’s late winner at Stoke City on the last day of the 2010/11 season. Such dramatic events are never far away when Wigan are around.
Wigan are looking more solid defensively with the arrivals of Jason Pearce, Harry Maguire and Gaetan Bong. Add to that the creativity of Kim Bo-Kyung and Sheyi Ojo in midfield and Latics have the makings of a decent team.
But they must improve in the final third, where goal scoring has been a major problem. Marc-Antoine Fortune has only hit the net once in the league this season and loan striker Leon Clarke is struggling with a hamstring injury.
Billy McKay has only been given cameo roles since his arrival from Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Irish international James McClean continues to be Latics biggest threat, but he has only scored six goals.
Malky Mackay has indicated his desire to bring in another striker on loan but time is running out for Saturday’s game. The fans have a big role to play in the run in to the end of the season and it will be good to see as many as possible make the trip to Rotherham and get behind the team like they did at Blackpool.
Fulham are just above Latics and eight points ahead and are away at Sheffield Wednesday this weekend. Their current poor form of one win in nine games gives Latics hope that they, Brighton and Rotherham could be overhauled.
Millwall are just below Wigan and may get a winning ‘bounce’ from the departure of Ian Holloway and the appointment of local hero Neil Harris as caretaker manager.
So Latics will have to put together a winning run and that will have to include home games starting against Watford on Tuesday night. But first things first, a win at Rotherham is crucial if Wigan are to kick-start another great escape.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on 13th March 2015.