12th Man – Building blocks for survival


Dream debut for Callum Connolly. Photograph courtesy of Wigan Athletic

What an incredible debut for Callum Connolly at Burton last Saturday, the 19-year-old Everton loanee had only signed for Latics just prior to kick off and he made a dream start scoring two headed goals to clinch a vital win.

It’s hard to remember a better Latics debut and in such an important game. If they had lost to Burton the gap between the two clubs would have been nine points.

But the victory keeps Latics within touching distance of the clubs above them and a home win against Brentford tomorrow could move them out of the bottom three.

The mood around the club this week has been much more upbeat because of the win but also because Warren Joyce has made some very good new signings.

The building blocks are now being put in place to help Latics pull away from the bottom of the table.

The addition of the England U20 international Connolly has hopefully resolved the problematic right-back position and should give the team a more balanced look.

The club has also brought in Danish keeper Jakob Haugaard on loan for the remainder of the season from Stoke City.

Like Connolly, Haugaard made an impact in his first game at the club by saving a penalty in the FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest and he followed this up with an assured performance against Burton.

The 6ft 6½in stopper is an imposing figure and he has added a new weapon to the Latics armoury, the very long kick. Haugaard was launching some massive kicks deep into the Burton half and with a little more luck Latics might have taken advantage.

It is looking likely that Latics will sign Turkish midfielder Jem Karacan from Galatasaray. The 27 year-old former Reading player, who has also had loan spells at Bournemouth and Millwall, should provide more competition in the centre of midfield.

Karacan was on the bench for the Turkish national team in 2014 but his career has been blighted by a series of serious injuries and Joyce is taking a chance that Karacan can get his career back on track with Latics.

But perhaps the biggest bonus this week was the permanent return of Sam Morsy to the club. Morsy’s career looked to be heading away from Wigan after Barnsley triggered a transfer fee but Joyce’s determination to keep the player at Latics has given everyone a boost.

The fans’ favourite has made a positive impact in the last two games and it is now up to the player to justify the manager’s faith in him.

I suspect Latics’ transfer business is not yet over and the manager will have other targets in mind before the window closes at the end of January.

Joyce has brought new blood into a squad, which has always been competitive, but just hadn’t been getting the results. The signs are now looking more promising, but Latics must continue to improve if they are to escape the drop.

This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 20th January 2017.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Brentford, Callum Connolly, Championship, Jakob Haugaard, Jem Karacan, Sam Morsy, Warren Joyce, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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