Have issues relating to the DW Stadium been holding up the Garrido group takeover?

Lisa Nandy put the cat among the pigeons in her interviews with Jay Whittle and the PWU Podcast a couple of days ago. Her suggestion that the exclusivity rights for the Garrido group should not be extended was a bombshell. The prospect of other bidders coming into play at this stage of the proceedings was something that split opinion between fans on the message boards and social media.

“We are pleased to report that substantial progress has been made with the Council regarding the assignment of the lease.  In addition further discussions have taken place between the EFL, the bidder and ourselves and, in our opinion, all information requested of the bidders has been supplied including but not limited to proof of funds for the next two seasons.In the light of this progress, the exclusivity period, which expires today, has been extended.  We now await a final answer from the EFL, and no further comment will be made until that is received.”

The administrators’ communique yesterday put the ball back firmly into the hands of Jose Miguel Garrido and his associates.

But what was surprising was to learn that there had been issues involving the Council. Has the issue of the lease been a sticking point in the drawn-out takeover bid by the Spanish investors?

When Dave Whelan built the DW Stadium in 1999 he made a deal with Wigan Council over the lease of the land it was built upon. The agreement contained a requirement that “two sporting clubs be granted a licence for use of the stadium by the tenant.” Wigan Warriors were given a sub-lease for the use of the stadium until 2025. When Ian Lenagan bought the rugby club in 2007 the lease was extended for another 25 years.

Whelan’s ownership of Latics involved him setting up different companies to control the various operations of his purchase. The company that controls the stadium – Wigan Football Company Limited – is currently under administration. Wigan Council owns 15% of its shares.  If the Garrido group are to purchase the remaining 85% of the shares they need to come to an agreement with the Council over the lease. This necessitates the Spanish group coming to an agreement with Ian Lenagan over stadium rental.

Whelan’s agreement with Lenegan involved the Warriors paying rent according to their attendances. Reports have suggested that they contribute around 10% of their attendance money. Local journalist, Phil Wilkinson, estimates the figure to be around £300,000 per annum, although it can hover above or below that figure depending on attendances.

Mudhutter’s revealing tweet – click here to see his analysis on Twitter – reveals the extent to which the stadium is a white elephant to Wigan Athletic.

The figures Mudhutter has compiled show the stadium company losing some £1.5m for the 2018-19 season. With only £800,000 coming in rent from the Warriors and the separate company that runs the football club the stadium company was struggling to meet its expenses of over £4m.

There has been concern among Latics fans that Ian Lenegan might be intent on buying the stadium for the Warriors. However, the administrators have made it clear that the stadium was part of the overall package, although they did sell off the Euxton training facility separately. Moreover, why would Lenagan want to buy a stadium that cannot break even financially? Better to continue to pay rent, especially if it is pitched at such a modest level.

With spectators not able to attend games at the DW due to the Covid-19 crisis the stadium stands to make even greater losses this season. With no share of gate receipts and no income derived from food and drink sales on matchdays there is minimal income coming in. One wonders if the Warriors are getting off virtually rent-free during this period. Or is there a proviso in the agreement that covers such instances?

The administrators’ statement suggests that the bidders have now provided the EFL with the necessary information requested. In the meantime, the terms of stadium lease by the Warriors will need to be finalised between Garrido and Lenagan so that Wigan Council can give approval.

When Dave Whelan made the agreement with the council more than 20 years ago would he have envisaged that the stadium would become a veritable millstone around the club’s neck?

Wigan Athletic: why is there still so much uncertainty?

The uncertainty about the future of Wigan Athletic has posed a challenge for us all: both supporters and those within the club. The message boards and social media have been awash with concerns about the impending takeover with performances on the field of play getting progressively worse. The loss to Chorley was a bitter pill to swallow and the probability that John Sheridan will be taking over at Swindon this week adds to the uncertainty that prevails.

Last night I had watched an excellent first half performance at Tranmere by the youngest side in memory fielded by Wigan Athletic. They scored two cracking goals: a Will Keane header from a cross by Tom Pearce and a rasping drive from outside the box by the 18-year-old Charlie McHugh. The performance was slightly tainted by a schoolboy error that gifted the home team a goal, but the level of movement and accuracy of passing was way above what we have seen in recent weeks. During the half time interval I checked Twitter to see if anyone had posted an opinion on the game so far.

However, the tweets from Latics fans were almost exclusively related to a communique from the EFL regarding the takeover. They once again indicated the concerns of the fans over the stalling of the takeover process that the EFL need to ratify.

The conspiracy theories suggested that the Garrido group’s bid was contingent on Supporters Club (SC) funds helping them to meet the asking price for buying the club. Another train of thought was that the EFL was being careful to be seen that it is doing due diligence and did not want to exclude the possibility of supporter representation on a new board of directors. The cynical line was that the EFL will do whatever it can to make things difficult for Latics.

Discerning the truth of what is happening is very difficult. However, communications over the past couple of months provide some indicators.

On September 30 the SC indicated that:

“We are pleased to share the news that an unnamed bidder has now progressed to the next stage of exclusivity with the joint administrators. Although there remains a long way to go in this process, the Supporters Club has made contact with the bidder and we are currently in discussions regarding the future involvement of the supporters at Wigan Athletic, should their bid be successful.”

On the same day the administrators stated that:

“We are pleased to announce that we have reached agreement with a preferred bidder from Spain. The offer that has been accepted deals with not only the sale of the club but also allows the payment to non-football creditors to avoid the 15-point penalty this season. In addition, a substantial deposit has been received. We are now working with our lawyers and the bidder to produce all of the necessary paperwork to submit to the EFL so that successful transfer of the football share can be made at the earliest opportunity. The preferred bidder who has experience in football has made it plain that they do not wish for their details to be made public until such time as the sale is completed and we are respecting this anonymity. No further details will be released until EFL approval has been obtained.”

Over the next month the paperwork was being put together by the bidders and administrators, although no definitive statement arose regarding the use of the crowdfunder monies in the Spanish consortium’s bid.

The Garrido group representatives and the administrators were to meet with the EFL to clarify the takeover bid on November 3. However, on that same day the SC put out another communique indicating that the bidders had invited them to invest crowdfunder monies as part of the bidder’s purchase of the club but that they felt “unable to move forward with the proposed deal at this time.”

The SC had met with the EFL on October 29, being advised on November 2 that afinal decision was needed regarding the investment by no later than 12noon on Tuesday 3rd November. They added:” The timescales have been insufficient to enable us to investigate the outcomes of that meeting and to hold the proper discussions with our wider committee.”

The SC also stated that:

“We are keen to invest the funds in order to secure equity in Wigan Athletic and a voice for the supporters. However, we must be sure that the proposed bidders have the wherewithal to purchase and fund the operations of the club and stadium successfully independently of our funds based on acceptable financial forecasts. We have been assured by the bidders that this is the case, however we feel it is important that proof of sufficient funds is confirmed by the EFL prior to any supporters’ funding being committed.”

Given these statements it appears that the Garrido group and the administrators went to meet the EFL on November 3 knowing that they could not count on the crowdfunding monies could be used in the purchase of the club. They would have gone into the meeting knowing that they had to provide sufficient proof of funding in their own right for the takeover to be confirmed.

Prior to the EFL communications yesterday evening the administrators had issued an update on the club’s site:

“We have not as yet had a final decision from the EFL regarding the transfer of the Football Share. Both the bidders and ourselves together with our legal team have had regular and ongoing discussions with the EFL regarding their requirements.  Our exclusivity agreement with the bidders, which runs out on the 11th November, has been extended for a further period to try and ensure that we reach a satisfactory conclusion. At this stage we cannot say when that will be as matters rest with the EFL. Whilst we fully understand the fans frustration and the effect generally on the club we must adhere to the procedures set down if we are to be successful.”

The exclusivity agreement has been extended to allow further time for the bidders and administrators to iron out what the EFL describes as “outstanding issues” that need to be resolved.

Jose Miguel Garrido has made his intentions clear through the local press as to what to expect if the takeover is approved. Some fans brought up in the days of the Premier League and Dave Whelan’s patrimony might be less than enthusiastic about the takeover by the Spanish consortium. The club would not rack up the debts that were incurred in recent years in the reigns of David Sharpe and Darren Royle. Money would be invested but with caution, with some £4m-£5m invested into the academy over a period of years to bring it to category 1 status.

For those fans who are concerned about the long-term sustainability of the club Garrido’s plans have great credibility. Latics could remain in the lower divisions for some years. In order to get out of League 1 on the last two attempts the club put itself in financial difficulties through paying player salaries that were hugely disproportionate to the norm in the third tier. However, if the academy continues to grow and a manager is appointed who will nurture young players the club can more than make ends meet.

Let’s hope that this saga ends up in a more satisfactory end result than what happened at Prenton Park last night where we witnessed a penalty shootout in which both teams performed as poorly as I can remember. The final shootout in the takeover proceedings needs to go in Wigan Athletic’s favour!

Amigo and social media reaction to another narrow defeat for injury-hit Latics

Wigan Athletic 2 Northampton Town 3

 “I think if you watch the first half – other than Dan Gardner having a great strike – we just gifted the opposition chances to score goals and we went in again 2-0 down. It is a pattern of our performances where we have started flat again in the first-half and we go in with a mountain to climb.

We deserved to go in behind but the goals were down to us; we give the opposition so many chances to score goals. I can’t stand getting beat and it really hurts me so much that we are on our bad, bad run. You can see the team we have picked and we have a lot of injuries that have come at a bad time – the team was makeshift and very young but I have to give them credit for the second-half performance because I thought we were excellent.

I said to the lads that chasing the game you have to be brave and not worry about making mistakes and I think we did that. I look at them in the second-half and I see loads of things that weren’t there in the first-half; we were on the front foot, sharp and creating chances.

We got back in at 2-1 and Northampton were clutching at straws whilst we looked to get the equaliser but then we have the killer blow of conceding a silly, silly goal against the run of play. We didn’t stop and there were a lot of things to come from the second-half from a young team as well.”

John Sheridan once again gave an honest appraisal of the game. With seven players out injured the manager had to reshuffle his pack. His starting line-up contained three players from last season’s senior squad, three players on short-term contracts and five from previous seasons’ U23 squad. Ollie Crankshaw and Thelo Aasgard, 18, were given their first starts in a League 1 game. Current youth team forward Harry McHugh made the bench for the first time.

When play commenced the first player to quickly catch the eye was the Cobbler’s Harry Smith, a towering 6ft 5in centre forward who used to play for Macclesfield. Smith may not be among the division’s top strikers, but his height and physicality caused problems to Wigan’s central defenders, Tom James and Adam Long, both around 5ft 11 in tall. After 22 minutes and with Latics two goals down Sheridan took off right back Crankshaw and brought on Emeka Obi. The 19-year-old has a long way to go before he is going to be the finished product but, like Smith, he too is 6ft 5in and his presence helped diminish the big target man’s effectiveness.

The centre of defence has been most problematic for Sheridan. Eight players have been used there so far and the disruption has prevented the gelling of the back four. Darnell Johnson and Curtis Tilt started four games together, giving them a chance to gel a partnership, but both are out of action due to injury.

The second half saw Kyle Joseph make his debut, coming on after 73 minutes. The 19-year-old Scotland youth international striker was among the young players touted by big clubs over the summer when Latics went under administration. He gave us a glimpse of his sharpness in the penalty box as he turned and was unlucky to see his effort hit the post in the 84th minute.

Let’s take a look at how fans reacted to the match through the message boards and social media.

Our thanks go to the Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen. Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below:

Kenny Morris commented:

Obi got slated the last time he played because everyone said he was out of his depth, so would you have had him on from the start? Everyone said we couldn’t play two youngsters at CH

James does play Centre half, as he himself said in his interview this week. It wasn’t working so Sheridan changed it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing that seems to be here in abundance.

Arthur_Itis said:

Negatives have been covered in previous posts, a few positives for me:
Showed great fight in the second half, Gardner had his best game by a mile, although faded late on.

Perry looked assured on the ball and played some lovely through balls. Aasgaard seems to have a great first touch and great balance, reminded me a bit of Gelhardt.

Jones pulled off some good (and crucial) saves. Obi will have gained a lot of confidence from today, and a lot of experience playing against a beast like Smith. Long looks great on the ball and has the confidence to show for it.

Pearce never stopped running and his surge into the box for the penalty showed great positivity. Hopefully that will do his confidence some good as well. James also never stopped running once back at right back. We have 2 decent full backs for this level.

The second half high press was very effective and we need to employ this approach from the first minute, not the 46th.

Finally, there are teams as bad as us in this division, but we will hopefully have time and resources to improve and avoid relegation if the takeover goes through. If it doesn’t we have more things to worry about than losing a football match.

It’s still early days yet.

FrancosLoveChild stated:

There is a good team in here but we sadly don’t start games anywhere near the standard for league football which cost us because we always seem to start playing well after going 1 or 2 down. Still some time

You are my sunshine opined:

Back 4 team selection/1st 25 mins cost us that game!

At least he binned Tuesdays negative formation but Sheridan should be playing players in their best position. Crankshaw is not a RB ,he is a RW! It’s a big step up for these lads as it is, let alone in an unfamiliar role. As soon as James went to RB to deal with Adams and Obi came on to get to grips with big Harry Smith we improved,as those 2 in particular caused us all sorts of problems that 1st 25 mins.

2nd half I thought we were superb, especially considering how many young lads we had out there. We were really unfortunate not to get a point in the end when Joseph, who was lively when he came on hit the post. Although not always with great quality, we put a lot more crosses in today and showed much more attacking intent than MK.

Pearce mom for me. Gardner has been poor this season, but I thought he had a much better game today. Obi did well when he came on, using his height and physicality to deal with Smith. Perry was tidy again.

Those lads showed today they can play and have good character to keep fighting despite the setbacks. This gives me some encouragement and hope going into another big game at the bottom on Tuesday at Blackpool.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Amigo and social media reaction to a rough night at Milton Keynes

We shuffled the team around to match them up and we did that until half time, but it was a massive downer how the penalty came about to give them their first goal. The injuries aren’t something we need at this moment in time when we’re after results and trying to win games, especially when most of our injuries are to experienced players.

“It’s given other players opportunities and I’ve put a team out that I thought could get something from the game. We’ve had another couple of injuries again tonight, so it’s difficult for us. Viv’s injury is quite a serious one. With one or two of the others they’re being monitored so we’ll just have to see how they are. We’re short on bodies, but I can’t sit here crying, we’ve got to get back to performing and winning football matches.”

John Sheridan’s thoughts after his shuffled-around team struggled at the MK Dons Arena.

Already without Darnell Johnson and Viv Solomon Otabor who left the field early against Plymouth it was a shock to learn that Lee Evans and Kal Naismith were also unavailable due to injury. Sheridan reacted by changing to a 3-5-2 formation, with full back Tom James at the centre of a back three.

Latics looked uncomfortable from the start and Will Keane’s injury forcing him to leave the field of play after 9 minutes complicated things even further. Although he had two central strikers and a natural number 10 on the bench Sheridan elected to bring on winger Ollie Crankshaw is the second striker role.

The Dons were much the better team in the first half and Latics were fortunate to go into the interval with a 0-0 scoreline. But the seemingly inevitable happened in the first ten minutes of the second half with the Dons going ahead thanks to a soft penalty awarded against Tom James and a poor clearance from Curtis Tilt gifting a second.

Thelo Aasgaard came on for a distraught Gavin Massey after 64 minutes and Tilt was replaced by Alex Perry five minutes later. The latter part of the game saw Latics look a little better, with Perry looking calm and composed in front of the defence as the Dons retreated into a less attacking mode.

Given the current state of limbo prevailing at Wigan Athletic the limp performance did not come as a surprise. Sheridan has done his best to meld together a disparate group of players but the undercurrents in the club have surely affected all concerned. Those remaining from last season’s senior squad have seen the departure of so many teammates, their salaries reduced, their immediate futures uncertain. New players have been brought in from outside. Some have come and already gone and none of them have a contract beyond January.

However, there is room for optimism for the future. Earlier yesterday the U17 team beat Manchester United’s U17s in the Premier League Cup. They were invited to participate because Latics’ U18s won the U18 Professional Development League North in 2019-20. The current U18 team is again top of the table with five wins in five games.

The critics will say that there is a massive gap between football at youth level and that of the senior level. Indeed, over the years at Wigan we have seen so many bright young players disappear, many going into non-league football. However, with the upgrading of the academy to category 2 status last season both the U18 and U23 teams are playing against much stronger opposition on a regular basis.

Although they did not win their division the U23 team performed well last season. Eight have them have already played for the senior team this season, largely as a result of the club’s precarious financial situation. In contrast last season only Joe Gelhardt from the U23s appeared in league games.

It is rumoured that the Garrido consortium see the development of homegrown talent as important to the future of the club. Their potential acquisition of Wigan Athletic remains in the hands of the EFL. We can only hope that the process will be completed sooner rather than later. Maybe before the home game with Northampton on Saturday?

Let’s take a look at how fans reacted to the match through the message boards and social media.

Our thanks go to the Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen. Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below.

Moonay said:

1st half ……. I’d rather forget.

2nd half, goals aside, we showed a little promise at times. Like Glasgow says, the decline in our line-up from the 1st minute on Saturday to the point tonight when Keane went off shows our plight.

The kids give us hope, but they need confidence. There’s little point at this time comparing ourselves to any other club, regardless of position in the league. What we need to do is to concentrate on playing as a team, working hard, supporting each other, keeping the heads up. As fans, that’s all we can ask of them right now.

You are my sunshine commented:

Yep agree with the fact Jones had a good game as well as Long, especially 1st half, keeping it 0-0 at HT with some decent saves!

For me, I just think Perry is the best suited player to replace Evans, with his ability to get on the ball and keep possession. He is a very neat and tidy player. Whereas Merrie, who can also pick a good pass,is more of a tough tackler. That crunching one in the 1st half was a cracker. Palmer seems more similar to Merrie than Perry. So I’d have Evans or Perry with Palmer or Merrie in the 2 cm slots.

We are desperately lacking an experienced natural number 10 to play just behind Garner. Aasgard is the only one in the entire squad,so it’s good to see him involved recently. The less said about Massey tonight the better. His body language was appalling at times and he seemed frustrated at being so deep. No excuses though,he needs to do much better!

For me, tonight for 70 minutes we didn’t get on the ball no were near enough. Due to the 532 formation, we had no width in the final third, which also resulted in a lack of crosses into the box for Garner to attack.

King _deZeeuw06 opined:

At the end when we had more of the kids on were looked a bit better, granted MK had already got the win and were happy to sit back and hold onto it, but there was a bit more enthusiasm and energy in the way we tried to go at them at least.

Crankshaw really struggled, thought Palmer looked quite good but had very little to work with. Thought Perry and Aasgaard showed more than some of our senior players. Gardner even showed a bit towards the end, but it was too little too late. Massey shouldnt play again even if he is fit – not sure if it’s confidence, attitude or whatever but he has been one of our worst performers, taking zero responsibility and going hiding this season when he should be one of the ones leading the charge.

It seems like our senior players are dropping like flies so i assume the kids will be playing on mass on Saturday – it can’t be any worse. But Sheridan needs to stop mucking about with players out of position and 5 at the back – it’s making a tough job even harder.

C_Latic said:

Still not in the bottom four (somehow). The goal now (other than still having a club) is to get to January without being cut adrift. Do that and we still have a good chance of staying up assuming a takeover has been completed by then and we can bring bodies in.

You are my sunshine also added:

I know we had injuries to key players but we are still better than that disappointing display! IMO Sheridan got it wrong tonight playing that negative 532 formation,with too many players out of position.We were too deep from the start and it set the tone for the rest of the game.

As soon as Perry came on,who can get on the ball and spray it around in our familiar 4231 formation we improved that last 20 minutes.

I’d give Long mom tonight
.

Degsy1 responded:

I agree with you But thought Jamie Jones also played well tonight – I s as Lao agree wrt Alex Perry, in fact from what I can see, Matt Palmer & Chris Merrie can also “get on the ball and spray it around”

My starting midfield would have been Palmer, Merrie & Perry and I would have told Pierce & James to play it through midfield who would then get it up field by means of control & passing rather than the current methodology being employed by Sheridan of hoofing it up and relying on luck !

I also would have subbed Aasgaard for Massey at half time !

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Five talking points following a narrow home defeat by Peterborough

A well-taken goal by forward Jonson Clarke-Harris after 28 minutes was sufficient to send Latics to another defeat. Peterborough’s centre forward had found himself unmarked in Wigan’s box.

With Tom Pearce still injured John Sheridan fielded the same team that started at Charlton with the exception of Matty Palmer making his debut in midfield in place of Dan Gardner.

Peterborough had come to the DW full of confidence following three successive victories. That confidence soon showed as their smooth passing movements put pressure on the home team’s defence. As the match continued Wigan’s front two, Joe Garner and Will Keane, were starved of possession and neither looked like scoring. The poor quality of crosses into the opposition box from open play and set pieces gave them scant opportunities. Keane was replaced by Chris Merrie after 68 minutes and Garner by Ollie Crankshaw after 81 minutes. Thelo Aasgard made his debut, coming on for Palmer after 88 minutes.

Following the game Sheridan commented:

“We try and tell them week in week out to pass the ball and be more adventurous and productive in passing the ball forward and trying to hurt teams quicker and we need to do that put teams on the back foot quicker, instead of allowing them to recover and get back into position.

It’s something we do work on but we need to do a lot better. Scoring goals is a problem at the moment. There are lots of deliveries going in the box at the moment with corners and set plays but our end product isn’t there at the moment.”

Let’s take a look at points arising from the game:

A rocky period for Latics

After losing the first two league games Latics rallied by winning the next two. The win at Portsmouth was well merited if the home victory against Doncaster owed as much to the visitors’ profligacy in front of goal as the fighting qualities shown by Wigan. The wins were followed by a 3-0 defeat at Crewe where Latics were outplayed. Poor refereeing decisions played a major hand in the narrow defeat at Charlton but Latics never truly looked like scoring in this encounter with Peterborough.

The prime goal for Latics this season is to avoid relegation, but that is by no means an easy task given the limited resources John Sheridan has at his disposal. The starting line-up last night contained five players from last season’s squad and six on short-term contracts which end in January, half of whom are on loan. The seven players on the bench were products of the U23 and U18 teams.

Recruiting players for a club with an uncertain future is always going to be difficult. Moreover, the League 1 salary cap restricts things further. Sheridan has to use the players remaining from last season’s squad as the backbone of the team over the course of the season, although some of those could depart in the January transfer window.

The football we have seen these last couple of months has been reminiscent of that of early last season in the Championship when we saw the bright, flowing side of Cook-Richardson football interspersed with spells where hoofball prevailed. Seeing Joe Garner struggle to receive any kind of service last night brought back memories of Kieffer Moore’s early days at Wigan when his main function seemed to be in chasing futile long balls.

Giving youth a chance

The departures of talented young players such as Alfie Devine, Joe Gelhardt and Jensen Weir for such meagre transfer fees was a bitter pill for us to swallow. However, the funds raised by their transfers helped the club to survive at a critical period in Wigan Athletic’s history. The good news is that the academy system is still intact and the U18 team has won all four of its games so far. There is still an abundance of teenage talent at the club.

It was good to see the 18-year-old Thelo Aasgard make his senior debut yesterday. Aasgard joined Latics in October 2016 and has represented Norway at the U16 level. A skilful player, well suited to the number 10 role, he has been a regular starter in the U23 team this season. He is the fourth teenager to make his League 1 debut this season following in the footsteps of the 19 year olds: Charlie Jolley, Adam Long, Emeka Obe. Divin Baningime was also 19 when made his debut in the EFL Trophy defeat by Port Vale.

Two more 19-year-olds have been making the bench but have yet to make their senior debuts. Both Kyle Joseph and Luke Robinson are Scotland youth internationals. Joseph is a striker with a good goalscoring record. Robinson is a left back who has shown expertise in shooting from outside the penalty box.

The development of home-grown talent is key to the long-term sustainability of the club. Previous managers have been reluctant to bring in young players, preferring to stick with their senior players. In John Sheridan’s case it has been a necessity because of the threadbare nature of the senior squad.  

Sheridan’s main task is to avoid relegation on a budget that is shoestring compared with previous seasons that Latics have spent in League 1 over recent years. However, should he manage to keep the club in the division and give further experience to young homegrown talent, the season could be regarded as a success.

Naismith for number 10?

Since Nick Powell’s departure the number 10 position has been problematic for Latics. Various players have been tried there, including Lee Evans. The Welshman has returned to form in the last three games since returning to his favourite position in holding midfield. In the last couple of matches Sheridan has used Will Keane to support the central striker, rather than as an orthodox number 10. Although it has not been noticeably successful up to this point it remains an option that the manager might use as needs arise.

Kal Naismith has once again proved his flexibility in playing in different positions. When he has played in the centre of defence his creativity has been missed further up the pitch. But there is debate among fans as to what is his best position.

In these days of inverted wingers Naismith found himself on the right wing and Viv Solomon-Otabor on the left. The latter has impressed on both wings this season, although yesterday he was snuffed out of the game by the Peterborough defence. Naismith had some good moments but one cannot help but feeling that he looks uncomfortable playing on the right.

Despite being such an all-rounder Naismith has rarely played in central midfield. But he has all the attributes to be successful in that position. Why not give him a run as a number 10?

The Garrido takeover

The acquisition of the club by Jose Miguel Garrido is awaiting ratification by the EFL. Until that happens we will not be able to discern the direction of the club in the near future.

Garrido will be buying a club that won the FA Cup only seven years ago, has a thriving academy and is not riddled with the levels of debt which typify so many clubs in the higher levels of the EFL. On the downside he will have to support the club financially during an era in which supporters are not allowed into football grounds.

Looking forward to Plymouth on Saturday

The last two games have been tight contests where Latics have lost by the odd goal. With such a small nucleus of experienced players Sheridan will face challenges as the fixtures pile up.

We can assume that Sheridan will stick with that same nucleus of players on Saturday when Plymouth Argyle are the visitors. Let’s hope they can get back on track and pick up three valuable points.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com