12th Man – An opportunity not to be missed

Wembley Stadium

Wembley is the objective

Latics face Barnsley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern semi-final on Saturday and it is important that they grasp the opportunity to progress towards another Wembley final. They have appeared at the National Stadium on four occasions since April 2013 and it would be another great boost for the club and the town to make it there again.

Very few football clubs get the opportunity to play at Wembley so often and Latics are now within touching distance of creating football history.

They are only three games away from another big day and if they can overcome League One strugglers Barnsley, they will face either Fleetwood or Morecambe in the two-leg Northern Final.

Latics have a great chance of going on to win the trophy for a record breaking third time but they must avoid any complacency if they are to progress.

The expectations are that Wigan will go through, but they must not take anything for granted, as Barnsley will be desperate to cause an upset and turn their season around.

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson has had a torrid time since taking over at Oakwell. The club sit bottom of the table and they have won only once in eleven League games.

However, they have beaten Scunthorpe, Bradford and York in the JPT, and they did manage a draw in their last game against Sheffield United and defeated League leaders Burton Albion and fourth placed Gillingham earlier in the season.

Wigan’s recent performances have been unconvincing with a narrow home win against Shrewsbury, a home defeat against Burton and a draw away at Southend.

Wigan have lacked a cutting edge in those three games with only loan striker Alex Revell finding the net against Shrewsbury. Will Grigg has struggled with his form of late and Craig Davies does not look fully fit.

It is possible that Jordi Hiwula may get a recall to the starting line up after netting two goals in the last round against Blackpool.

Latics will be hoping that Yanic Wildschut is available after being rested for the Southend fixture, the dynamic Dutchman has been hampered by a hamstring injury, but if fit, he is likely to be Wigan’s biggest goal threat.

But whatever the players selected, it is important that Gary Caldwell and his players guard against any complacency and ensure that they move closer to another Wembley final.

This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 4th December 2015.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Wigan Athletic, Wembley, Barnsley, Johnstone's Paint Trophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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