It wasn’t the most convincing performance against Burton on Tuesday night but a resolute Latics still moved a point closer to the League One title. They maintained a three-point gap over second placed Burton and a six-point gap over third placed Walsall.
Latics have an impressive goal difference of +33, compared to +18 for the Saddlers and +16 for the Brewers and it could prove to be like an additional point in the title race.
Last Saturday’s defeat at Doncaster was Latics’ first in 21 games but the other promotion candidates have all been dropping points on a regular basis. Burton have not won in their last six matches and Walsall have only won three of their last six games.
Both still have some tough fixtures to come with Walsall still to face play-off contenders Bradford City and Burton must overcome sixth placed Gillingham.
Next up for Latics are Southend United and it is a fixture they will need to win to maintain the gap at the top.
The Shrimpers are in a poor run of form and have only won once in their last six games, after briefly toying with the play-off places, they have now slipped to 13th in the table.
Gary Caldwell will be determined for his team to guard against complacency but Latics will also need to improve on their last two performances.
Defensively they have been vulnerable to set-pieces. Against Doncaster they conceded two headers from corners and at Burton another header from a free-kick.
Going forward they have plenty of options but they must ensure that Will Grigg is given the service that will fire him to the League One Golden Boot. A return to the starting line-up for flying winger Yanic Wildschut is therefore surely a must.
Latics will be boosted by the return of key midfielder David Perkins after his one-match suspension. Perkins presence will give the team a big lift and he will be determined to make up for his sending off in the rare defeat at Doncaster.
The 33-year-old never stops running and he has been central to the team’s successes. He has been the most consistent performer this season and he is the glue that holds the team together. His terrier like qualities should help the team to get over the finish line.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 22nd April 2016.