It was always going to be a tough fixture against Watford who are in one of the best teams in the Championship and pushing for automatic promotion. Latics matched their high-flying opponents for much of the game but once again they lacked any cutting edge at the DW Stadium.
The main difference between the two teams was in the final third and Watford’s strength in this area stands in stark comparison with Wigan’s lack of marksmen.
Troy Deeney is probably the best striker in the Championship and his two emphatic finishes demonstrate how important it is to have top strikers at the football club.
Deeney has already scored 19 goals this season and he is backed up by Odion Ighalo scoring 17, Matej Vydra 12, Almen Abdi 8, and Fernando Forestieri 5 goals. But even from midfield the Hornets have goal scorers such as Daniel Tozser with 5 goals.
Admittedly Wigan’s top scorer James McClean, 6 goals, was suspended on the night, but Latics other forwards have only mustered a handful between them all season.
It is fair to say that Wigan have not had any prolific goal scorers since the days of Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts when we won promotion to the Premier League. Latics will continue to under perform until they have strikers who are capable of scoring 15-20 goals per season.
Wigan have not won on home soil for seven months and have only scored eight goals at the DW Stadium during that time.
The terrible state of the pitch is a factor and makes it difficult to play good passing football but Malky Mackay’s tactics are looking increasingly desperate. The long ball is now the primary mode of attack and this invariably means that possession is lost too easily and the opposition gain control.
The manager has overseen a huge turnover of players and has brought in many loan players to try to stem the tide of poor results.
Some have been a success such as Harry Maguire and Gaeten Bong, but unfortunately the recruitment drive looks increasingly desperate with young untried players such as Jerome Sinclair and Josh Murphy having to make an immediate impact to save Wigan’s season.
Fortunately both Rotherham and Fulham lost on Wednesday night so the gap remains at six points, and Latics have a marginally better goal difference than the two teams above them.
Wigan have eight games to save their season, four home and four away. All the teams we are up against have something to play for, either at the top of the table or at the bottom.
Rotherham, Fulham and Brighton are catchable but we will have to win our home games starting against local rivals Bolton on Saturday.
Wigan will have to go all out to win the game and it is imperative that Mackay gives Billy Mckay his chance against Bolton probably alongside Leon Clarke. The Northern Irish striker has proved his worth in the Scottish Premier League and Latics have been lacking a goal poacher for a very long time.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on 20th March 2015