12th Man – The challenge ahead


Big games ahead for Warren Joyce

Latics poor run of form continued on Wednesday night when they were outplayed by top of the table Newcastle United.

They had worked extremely hard to get a result, particularly in the second half, but there was always a feeling that Newcastle had plenty to spare and they could always go up a gear if required.

The gulf in class between the two sides was for all to see, but it is not surprising given the disparity in resources.

The current Newcastle squad is valued in the region of £130m while the Latics squad is worth around £10m.

In Rafa Benitez they have one of the top managers in Europe, a man who has won trophies wherever he has been. The contrast between the two clubs was a stark one.

Newcastle are likely to be promoted back to the Premier League sooner rather than later, and it is probably best that Latics don’t dwell on the result but dust themselves down and come out fighting over the Christmas and New Year period.

In a hectic spell of four games in seventeen days they will face Ipswich Town (h), Rotherham United (a), Derby County (a) and Huddersfield Town (h) and these could have a big say in the club’s survival chances.

Warren Joyce has talked about stopping opposition teams playing but this is only part of the formula for success and Latics must be prepared to commit more numbers forward if they are to be successful.

I stated previously that the manager should re-evaluate his formation and tactics in time for the home game against Newcastle United, and at least on this occasion he adopted a slightly more attacking line-up with striker Will Grigg making his first start under Joyce.

In the second half Latics created several good opportunities when they pressed higher up the pitch and this has to be the formula for the upcoming fixtures against Ipswich and Rotherham.

A couple of good results will boost the confidence and set the team up for difficult fixtures against Derby and Huddersfield.

On the horizon is the January transfer window and I expect Joyce to bring in several loan players, some of which may come from his former club Manchester United.

The big question however, is will Dave Whelan and David Sharpe provide the manager with a transfer fund to spend on new players? With Latics 23rd in the table and four points from safety surely now is the time for the owner and Chairman to take action.

This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 16th December 2016.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Championship, Derby County, Huddersfield Town, Ipswich Town, Newcastle United, Rotherham United, Warren Joyce, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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