12th Man: Display at Bradford shows mastering defence

Craig Morgan Wigan Athletic

Craig Morgan celebrates his equaliser at Bury. Photograph courtesy of Wigan Athletic

One of the main concerns about Latics early season performances has been their poor defending. Many of the games have seen lapses of concentration, defensive mix-ups and even bizarre own goals.

Richard O’Donnell, Leon Barnett, Donervon Daniels and Reece James have all looked shaky at times and with the absences of captain Craig Morgan and vice captain Jason Pearce they have shipped more goals than was acceptable.

However, the defensive display at Bradford City showed signs that the team might be mastering the art of defending.

Latics had to endure an aerial bombardment on Saturday with the home team winning fifteen corners overall. During the first half they forced six consecutive corners, but the defence was resolute and held firm.

The Bantams adopted a physical approach throughout, with centre forward James Hanson making life difficult for the Latics three centre backs, but they stood up very well to the test and were only breached once.

The return to the team of the captain Craig Morgan has certainly helped to steady the ship. The experienced Welsh international is cool under pressure and his organisation of the defence is starting to have an impact.

The former Bolton Wanderers keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen has added greater stability and seems to have inspired confidence in those around him. Richard O’Donnell is a fine shot stopper but he struggled to build a rapport with the other defenders.

Chris McCann is now playing in an unfamiliar role as a defender but he has started to settle and was excellent under pressure at Valley Parade.

Jason Pearce is regaining match fitness and was on the bench for the Bradford game, but he is likely to return to the action and add his strength and experience in the near future.

If Latics can master the art of defending then they will continue their upward trajectory. They have now moved up into the play-off zone and are only five points behind second place Walsall.

If they maintain their excellent home form and keep picking up points away from home they will not be far off the automatic promotion places come May.

This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 30th October 2015.

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About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Chris McCann, Craig Morgan, Jason Pearce, Jussi Jaaskelainen, League One, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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