Latics’ newly assembled squad face a tough test tomorrow against a Sheffield Wednesday team who are expected to be amongst the promotion contenders at the end of the season.
Like Latics the Owls have had an indifferent start to their Championship campaign with only one win, two draws and two defeats in their first five fixtures.
They will be desperate to get their season on track particularly as they will be playing in front of a partisan 20,000 plus home support. The pressure will be on Wednesday to perform and if things aren’t going the home team’s way then Latics could benefit from the negative atmosphere.
Latics showed in their last away fixture at Nottingham Forest that they are capable of scoring goals and if they can tighten up in defence then they can spring a surprise result.
Will Grigg is still grabbing the headlines and has so far scored three goals in five league appearances. If his teammates can create the chances then he is very capable of making the difference tomorrow.
Much could depend on how quickly Latics’ new signings settle into the team at Hillsborough. I’m expecting debuts for defender Reece Burke and midfielder Nathan Byrne, with striker Adam Le Fondre to start on the bench.
Gary Caldwell will have been assessing his squad during the international break and it will be interesting to see how quickly the new players can bed into the manager’s system of play. With 14 arrivals and 20 departures during the transfer window it may inevitably take some time for everything to click together.
Just like last season Wigan haven’t got the points that their performances deserved in the opening games and the turnover of players will inevitably have an impact on the performances.
The Championship is a much harder division than League One and some players are still adapting to the step up from last season. Injuries, suspensions and silly mistakes have not helped the cause but as more players become available, the competition for places will hot up and the results will hopefully follow.
Latics have been competitive in all their games so far this season and I expect that to continue against Wednesday. But whatever the result at Hillsborough, in the longer term I expect the new signings to have a positive impact and with a much needed improvement in defensive areas the prospects for the rest of the season are still looking good.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 9th September 2016.