Luton Town 1 Wigan Athletic 2: a triumph for plan B

When Paul Cook arrived at Wigan in summer 2017, we were told by Portsmouth fans that he was a successful manager but one who rigidly stuck with his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, struggled against teams that “park the bus” on home turf, that he was a good motivator and it was rare for Pompey to lose consecutive games, that he did not have a Plan B.

So much of what we were told about Cook rang true during his time at Latics. However, we did witness a Plan B. It involved pumping long balls towards the centre forward’s head.

Following the arrival of the 6ft 5in tall Kieffer Moore in August 2019 that same Plan B became the main style of play. Moore looked a lonely and forlorn figure up front, spending his energy chasing hopeful punts from the defence. It took months for Latics to change that approach, but when they did it worked. Not only did results improve, but Moore was able to show the kinds of skills that big strikers of his ilk rarely possess. Put simply, Latics started to build up moves through the midfield to attack, keeping the ball on the ground, basically using their skills to play football rather than hoofball.

Paul Cook and Leam Richardson appeared to be joined at the hip. They had successful records as a managerial duo. Some would say they were a modern day, lower division, equivalent of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. When Cook left Wigan and later joined Ipswich many expected Richardson to follow his old partner. Fortunately for Latics he did not, instead keeping the club afloat during the dire era of administration. He kept Wigan in League 1 in 2020-21 then won the title in 2021-22.

During Richardson’s time as Wigan Athletic’s manager we have seen a similar mix of football to what we saw when he worked with his previous partner. Indeed, many of the positive and negative profiles of the prior regime have continued to be evident.

But Richardson has shown himself to be more flexible in his tactics. Cook occasionally veered away from 4-2-3-1 towards playing a line of three central defenders, whilst Richardson has shown he can switch between the two. Another trait of the Cook/Richardson era was to be cautious in the use of substitutes, often leaving it late in the game to make changes. With the advent of being able to use five substitutes this season Richardson has already shown that he can be more proactive than before.

I found the first hour of play at Luton depressing. It was reminiscent of the early days of the Moore era. “Hopeful” long balls launched from the goalkeeper and his defence towards an isolated Josh Magennis. Luton are by no means an attractive footballing side, their main approach being to launch crosses from the flanks to two burly central strikers. However, it was still more constructive than Wigan’s approach and they would have added to their one goal lead if it had not been for the excellence of Ben Amos and resilience in defence.

Richardson’s three substitutions after 62 minutes changed the whole pattern of the game. Graeme Shinnie transformed the midfield by not only his tenacity, but by his ability to pass the ball on the ground to initiate attacks. Nathan Broadhead’s movement and Thelo Aasgaard’s sheer class and calm on the ball shone through. Callum Lang was having a torrid afternoon, but his stubbed shot was deflected into the net by a Luton defender in the 80th minute. Aasgaard’s stunning winner in the 88th minute came from an incisive pass along the ground by Lang, after Ashley Fletcher had drawn defenders away to provide the space.

The LaticsTV commentary remarked on the manager’s genius at making those bold substitutions, but the majority of fans on the social media asked why he had not put out a line-up like that from the start.

The pessimists are already suggesting that Richardson will revert to type for the upcoming Blackburn game, keeping faith in the senior professionals who helped win promotion last season, launching long balls to a big target man. It was Plan A in the Luton game, Plan B being playing constructive football with the ball on the ground.

What will Plan A be against Blackburn?

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

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Wigan Athletic 1 Burnley 5: Amigo and Social Media reaction

Wigan Athletic once again showed their fighting qualities, pulling back Burnley’s two goal lead with a Will Keane penalty after 42 minutes. The visitors had been far superior in the opening half hour, their silky football contrasting with repititious long balls launched from defence by Latics.

Early in the second half Keane squandered a golden opportunity. Soon after the visitors made it 3-1 with a goal that had offside written all over it. It was a hammer blow from which Latics were never going to recover and Burnley’s superiority was emphasized with two more goals in the final minutes.

Leam Richardson chose a cautious starting line-up, opting for three at the back but with a 3-5-2 formation, rather than the usual 3-4-3. With three holding midfielders was he trying to nullify the effect of Brownhill, Cork and Cullen in Burnley’s engine room? In the event Brownhill had an excellent game, finding the freedom to score two well-taken goals. Callum Lang and Will Keane received poor service, mainly spending their energy chasing hopeful long balls or aimless punts up field.

Burnley lost many of their best players over the summer following their relegation from the Premier League. However, both Brownhill and defender Charlie Taylor were regulars in their top tier side last season and played yesterday. Burnley have spent some £13 on new acquisitions over the summer. New manager Vincent Kompany has imposed a possession-based style of play. However, their record prior to this game was W1D3L1.

Following a valiant performance at Norwich, Latics were found wanting in this encounter against another team coming down from the top tier. The gulf in class between the two teams in this game looked huge, not only in Burnley’s clinical finishing, but in the flowing football they played.

But Richardson’s teams show resilience and a good performance against West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday would not be a surprise. Wigan’s primary goal this season is to avoid relegation. Providing the manager can continue to keep up his squad’s morale they can probably accomplish that goal.

However, the long-ball style of play that helped Latics get out of League 1 is not the best approach for consolidation at this level. At some point flair players need to be nurtured and a more sophisticated style of play developed. Wigan defenders, facing an opposition press, launch “hopeful” long balls. Most teams in this division better handle the high press.

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 included:

FormbyLatic opined:

I think Leam got the starting formation completely wrong. Far too defensive and too much respect shown to the opposition. THREE strikers and TWO excellent attacking midfielders on the bench.

When he made the changes, albeit far too late, we looked a much better team. We need a big reaction on Tuesday. Today was probably the worst performance for over two years and was very, very hard to watch, not least the repeated missing of clear cut chances……

HudwiganFan commented:

To write it off as ‘Premier League vs League One’ is a bit demeaning and selling us massively short to be honest. Burnley had only won one of their first five, and that was only 1-0 against a Huddersfield team who’ve had an awful start. They’ve failed to win any of their last four and shipped 3 at home against Blackpool last week. Nowhere near good enough and I’m sure Leam and the staff will be communicating that to the players behind closed doors.

I’d rather Leam make changes than be a manager who’s too stubborn but today was a tinker too far. Five at the back and no target-man was just bizarre. We setup and started playing like we were already 4-0 down and it showed in the first 30 minutes of the game.

Leam’s loyalty to Lang and Keane is admirable – and I can see why he’d want to reward them for their contributions last season – but how many more largely anonymous performances can they put in before some others get a go? Likes of Broadhead, Wyke, Aasgaard, Fletcher (who wasn’t even in the squad again) and even Humphrys must be sat there wondering what they have to do to get a start. Zero room for sentiment at this level if we’re serious about stopping up and Lang in particular needs to be told “you’ve got to get going otherwise you won’t get a look-in.”


I’d drop them both on Tuesday, start one of Magennis or Wyke with Broadhead in there and Fletcher as an option off the bench (if fit). Need to go back to the flat back-four with Bennett back at LB because McClean is a much better attacker than defender at this level and Whatmough-Kerr-Tilt was simply took many cooks in the kitchen today. They were getting in each other’s way and you can tell they’re not used to playing all at once.

Everything that could’ve gone wrong did go wrong today. It will be fascinating to see how they respond against another ‘promotion candidate off to a slow start’ on Tuesday. Can’t just dismiss it as ‘well they’ve got lots of money and a really good squad’ or we’ll get smashed again. The type of negative mindset that Jewell used to trot out in the press before we played top 4 sides in the first couple of Prem seasons and it felt like we’d already been beaten before the games had even started.

True Believer wrote:

TBH I am not overly worried about today’s loss as it is still very early in the season and it was against one of the teams that I would imagine will not be in the bottom half of the division and therefore not a direct opponent.

I think we have to be realistic about this season and be looking to win the games against teams with a similar target as ourselves (avoiding relegation). Any points we pick up against any of the top teams should be viewed as a bonus and losses put down to experienc
e.

JockLatic stated:

Definitely going to be knee jerk comments here. Clearly different class in attacking areas at the moment. They scored all 5 out of 6 on target. Our finishing was terrible.

At 85 minutes we had 3 times as many shots as Burnley. Aside from the 3 goals they struggled to create anything. The first goal was clearly a foul and the 3rd was miles offside and then we are chasing a 2 goal deficit wrongly.

Liam made a mistake going from 3 centre backs to 2 for the last 15 minutes as it left us wide open to the counter as we overcommitted men forward to desperately tried to get a goal back. 2 goals when we were exposed defensively numbers wise and their pace and our sloppy play allowed the scoreline to be something the game didn’t reflect. Would imagine if it was level with 15 minutes to go, Liam doesn’t make those subs and have more players back in defence.

Frustrating as people will just look at the scoreline and think we got battered for 90 minutes, which absolutely wasn’t the case.

C_McNamara added:

Always going to be days like this, even if we signed 11 new players in summer, all who are championship standard, your going to have a bad game or two at some point in a season.

I found Burnley impressive to be honest, liked the rotation in possession, Cullen moving into left back allowing Vitinho and Tella to essentially go 1v1 against Kerr and Darikwa then Gudmundsson staying wide on the other side. Roberts and Brownhill’s positioning themselves in the inside channel as well just dragged us over isolating Tilt. I don’t we will see many teams coming to us this year with this sort of setup. Shades of a City setup with arguably two different sorts of attack going on.

I did feel from our point of view, looking to turn their centre halves was a good idea. Neither were dominating however we just didn’t manage to execute it well enough bar probably the last 10/15 of the first half. Keane not taking that chance early in the 2nd half turned out to be massive in hindsight.

5 down 41 to go I suppose, review it and narrow the focus on what we didn’t do or perhaps something Burnley did well which we could evolve/adapt our system or approach

Disappointed about today however looking forward to Tuesday night now.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Amigo and Social Media Reaction to a heavy defeat against Burnley

Wigan Athletic once again showed their fighting qualities, pulling back Burnley’s two goal lead with a Will Keane penalty after 42 minutes. The visitors had been far superior in the opening half hour, their silky football contrasting with repititious long balls launched from defence by Latics.

Early in the second half Keane squandered a golden opportunity. Soon after the visitors made it 3-1 with a goal that had offside written all over it. It was a hammer blow from which Latics were never going to recover and Burnley’s superiority was emphasized with two more goals in the final minutes.

Leam Richardson chose a cautious starting line-up, opting for three at the back but with a 3-5-2 formation, rather than the usual 3-4-3. With three holding midfielders was he trying to nullify the effect of Brownhill, Cork and Cullen in Burnley’s engine room? In the event Brownhill had an excellent game, finding the freedom to score two well-taken goals. Callum Lang and Will Keane received poor service, mainly spending their energy chasing hopeful long balls or aimless punts up field.

Burnley lost many of their best players over the summer following their relegation from the Premier League. However, both Brownhill and defender Charlie Taylor were regulars in their top tier side last season and played yesterday. Burnley have spent some £13 on new acquisitions over the summer. New manager Vincent Kompany has imposed a possession-based style of play. However, their record prior to this game was W1D3L1.

Following a valiant performance at Norwich, Latics were found wanting in this encounter against another team coming down from the top tier. The gulf in class between the two teams in this game looked huge, not only in Burnley’s clinical finishing, but in the flowing football they played.

But Richardson’s teams show resilience and a good performance against West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday would not be a surprise. Wigan’s primary goal this season is to avoid relegation. Providing the manager can continue to keep up his squad’s morale they can probably accomplish that goal.

However, the long-ball style of play that helped Latics get out of League 1 is not the best approach for consolidation at this level. At some point flair players need to be nurtured and a more sophisticated style of play developed. Wigan defenders, facing an opposition press, launch “hopeful” long balls. Most teams in this division better handle the high press.

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 included:

FormbyLatic opined:

I think Leam got the starting formation completely wrong. Far too defensive and too much respect shown to the opposition. THREE strikers and TWO excellent attacking midfielders on the bench.

When he made the changes, albeit far too late, we looked a much better team. We need a big reaction on Tuesday. Today was probably the worst performance for over two years and was very, very hard to watch, not least the repeated missing of clear cut chances……

HudwiganFan commented:

To write it off as ‘Premier League vs League One’ is a bit demeaning and selling us massively short to be honest. Burnley had only won one of their first five, and that was only 1-0 against a Huddersfield team who’ve had an awful start. They’ve failed to win any of their last four and shipped 3 at home against Blackpool last week. Nowhere near good enough and I’m sure Leam and the staff will be communicating that to the players behind closed doors.

I’d rather Leam make changes than be a manager who’s too stubborn but today was a tinker too far. Five at the back and no target-man was just bizarre. We setup and started playing like we were already 4-0 down and it showed in the first 30 minutes of the game.

Leam’s loyalty to Lang and Keane is admirable – and I can see why he’d want to reward them for their contributions last season – but how many more largely anonymous performances can they put in before some others get a go? Likes of Broadhead, Wyke, Aasgaard, Fletcher (who wasn’t even in the squad again) and even Humphrys must be sat there wondering what they have to do to get a start. Zero room for sentiment at this level if we’re serious about stopping up and Lang in particular needs to be told “you’ve got to get going otherwise you won’t get a look-in.”


I’d drop them both on Tuesday, start one of Magennis or Wyke with Broadhead in there and Fletcher as an option off the bench (if fit). Need to go back to the flat back-four with Bennett back at LB because McClean is a much better attacker than defender at this level and Whatmough-Kerr-Tilt was simply took many cooks in the kitchen today. They were getting in each other’s way and you can tell they’re not used to playing all at once.

Everything that could’ve gone wrong did go wrong today. It will be fascinating to see how they respond against another ‘promotion candidate off to a slow start’ on Tuesday. Can’t just dismiss it as ‘well they’ve got lots of money and a really good squad’ or we’ll get smashed again. The type of negative mindset that Jewell used to trot out in the press before we played top 4 sides in the first couple of Prem seasons and it felt like we’d already been beaten before the games had even started.

True Believer wrote:

TBH I am not overly worried about today’s loss as it is still very early in the season and it was against one of the teams that I would imagine will not be in the bottom half of the division and therefore not a direct opponent.

I think we have to be realistic about this season and be looking to win the games against teams with a similar target as ourselves (avoiding relegation). Any points we pick up against any of the top teams should be viewed as a bonus and losses put down to experienc
e.

JockLatic stated:

Definitely going to be knee jerk comments here. Clearly different class in attacking areas at the moment. They scored all 5 out of 6 on target. Our finishing was terrible.

At 85 minutes we had 3 times as many shots as Burnley. Aside from the 3 goals they struggled to create anything. The first goal was clearly a foul and the 3rd was miles offside and then we are chasing a 2 goal deficit wrongly.

Liam made a mistake going from 3 centre backs to 2 for the last 15 minutes as it left us wide open to the counter as we overcommitted men forward to desperately tried to get a goal back. 2 goals when we were exposed defensively numbers wise and their pace and our sloppy play allowed the scoreline to be something the game didn’t reflect. Would imagine if it was level with 15 minutes to go, Liam doesn’t make those subs and have more players back in defence.

Frustrating as people will just look at the scoreline and think we got battered for 90 minutes, which absolutely wasn’t the case.

C_McNamara added:

Always going to be days like this, even if we signed 11 new players in summer, all who are championship standard, your going to have a bad game or two at some point in a season.

I found Burnley impressive to be honest, liked the rotation in possession, Cullen moving into left back allowing Vitinho and Tella to essentially go 1v1 against Kerr and Darikwa then Gudmundsson staying wide on the other side. Roberts and Brownhill’s positioning themselves in the inside channel as well just dragged us over isolating Tilt. I don’t we will see many teams coming to us this year with this sort of setup. Shades of a City setup with arguably two different sorts of attack going on.

I did feel from our point of view, looking to turn their centre halves was a good idea. Neither were dominating however we just didn’t manage to execute it well enough bar probably the last 10/15 of the first half. Keane not taking that chance early in the 2nd half turned out to be massive in hindsight.

5 down 41 to go I suppose, review it and narrow the focus on what we didn’t do or perhaps something Burnley did well which we could evolve/adapt our system or approach

Disappointed about today however looking forward to Tuesday night now.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Wigan Athletic 1 Bristol City 1 – five talking points

August 13, 2022: Wigan Athletic 1 Bristol City 1

It was a “game of two halves” but much credit is due to Wigan Athletic for the way they clawed themselves back into the game following an early reverse.

 With Curtis Tilt injured, Jack Whatmough returned to his usual position as right centre back, Jason Kerr being moved to the left, a less familiar position for him.

The Robins had scored in the 6th minute, a big gap being open on the left -hand side of Wigan’s defence, after Latics had lost the ball up field. Tommy Conway’s cross found Andreas Weimann at the far post, who notched his fourth goal of the season. Wigan’s main mode of attack was to launch hopeful long balls towards an isolated Josh Magennis up front. It was a largely ineffective ploy, but when the big striker got into the penalty box, he had three chances to score, although none of them were easy. Latics went into the half time interval a goal behind.

There was a surprise at the beginning of the second half with Thelo Aasgaard replacing Joe Bennett, who had had an off-day being fortunate not having received a red card following a scuffle with Joe Williams. Aasgaard moved to the left wing with James McClean taking over at left back. Aasgaard’s arrival coincided with a change in approach from Wigan, with controlled football gradually replacing the long ball.

An injury to Ben Amos caused him to be replaced by Jamie Jones after 54 minutes. Wigan were playing much better. Will Keane equalised in the 62nd minute after a goalmouth melee. Mark Sykes, a bargain signing from Oxford United, had been a thorn in the side for Latics on the right wing. Soon after Keane’s goal he launched a superb long cross to the six-yard box, but Conway somehow headed wide of a gaping net. Latics continued to press and looked dangerous, but the visitors also threatened with their rapid counterattacks.

In the end a draw was a fair result, Wigan’s third in the first three games.

Kerr stakes a claim

Jason Kerr, signed from St Johnstone in January, has had to bide his time to stake a claim as a frequent starter. Last season he was played on the right of a block of three central defenders, a position in which he had excelled when helping the Perth club to win both the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup.

Kerr had come on to replace Jack Whatmough in a flat back four in the Preston game, growing more self-assured as the game went on. He continued in that right centre half position at Norwich where he was arguably Latics’ Man of the Match. This was the first time we have seen him on the left side of defence. Once again, he got better and better as the game progressed and was excellent in the second half.

Lang can make it in the Championship

It is Callum Lang’s first season in the Championship and the early stages have been testing for him. Faced against left sided defenders of superior quality to League 1, Lang has not been able to find the same amount of space and freedom as last season. Yesterday he was heavily policed by big defender Robert Atkinson, giving him no turning space, particularly in the first half. But as the game progressed, he began to find space and managed to threaten the opposition defence and goalkeeper.

Lang has been a key player for Latics, his goals being vital in their fight to avoid relegation, then to win the division. He is still only 23 and his best is ahead of him. At times he falls rather too easily, and he has done himself no favours with referees with his frequent arguing over decisions. But he has been a superb finisher at League 1 level, and this will surely translate into goals in the Championship. Lang ‘s willingness to run at the defence can unsettle them and create opportunities for teammates.

It is still early to make any judgements as to how effective Lang will be in this division. Much will depend on the help he receives from the coaches and his willingness to embrace it.

Magennis shows his commitment

The DW Stadium crowd have always liked a trier: a player willing to give his all for the team. Josh Magennis certainly did that yesterday and deserved the applause he got when he left the field after 76 minutes for Nathan Broadhead.

Magennis was signed in January as a direct replacement for Charlie Wyke at the time. Although 32 years old he was given a two and a half-year contract, an indication of the club’s keenness to sign him. He made a slow start to his Latics’ career but his game improved as he approached genuine match-fitness. As Wyke’s replacement it was a hard act to follow. Yesterday he showed that same sort of willingness that Wyke had shown to play the target man role, a physically demanding task against big central defenders.

After just 12 minutes of the live feed yesterday Tommy Gore remarked that Magennis had won 70-80% of his headers but there had been no teammates close by to take advantage. Magennis is not the first Latics centre forward to lack support. Indeed, I recall an old article of mine on this site where I brought up a commentary by ex-number 9, Gary Birtles, during the Martinez era where he lamented the lack of support for Connor Sammon. His most cutting comment was that “He (Sammon) was chasing his own flick-ons at times. When a system is just not working: change it!!”

Leam Richardson changed it in the second half yesterday and Latics looked a better team for it.

Last season Magennis scored three goals and made one assist in 17 games for Latics. His goals were all headed. He has a career record of 0.18 goals per game, compared with Nathan Broadhead (0.29), Ashely Fletcher (0.16) Stephen Humphrys (0.22), Callum Lang (0.30) and Charlie Wyke (0.33). It should be noted that almost half of Humphry’s career appearances have been made coming in off the bench.

Magennis is by no means an instinctive goalscorer. His strong points are his aerial threat in the penalty area and his commitment to the cause.

Big refereeing decisions going Wigan’s way

Joe Bennett was fortunate not to receive a red card after lashing out at Joe Williams who had fouled him and stamped on him. In such circumstances it tends to be the victim rather than the initial aggressor who is disciplined. Justice is not often served. However, the likelihood is that most referees would have sent Bennett off yesterday. In the event he received a yellow.

Latics also got the benefit of the decisions at Norwich, who had five penalty appeals turned down. The validity of each appeal may be up to debate, but it takes a strong and confident referee to stand up to the baying of the crowd in such circumstances.

Timewasting rears its ugly head

Modern football abounds with gamesmanship: blatant diving seeks rewards in free kicks, penalties, cards for opponents; teams mob referees to pressurise them into decisions in their favour; systematic professional fouling neutralises opposition attacks.

Time-wasting is rife. Players take their time with throw-ins, goal kicks, in walking their way off the pitch when being substituted. But one that particularly denigrates the game for the spectator is the feigning of injury. In football-talk it comes under the banner of “managing the game”. It is a ploy that is used by practically all teams to varying degrees. In the closing periods of the game, with the opposition gathering momentum a player goes down “injured”. Sometimes those injuries can be genuine, sometimes they can be cramp induced as players tire, but they can also be fake. A stoppage of say, three minutes, can be enough to dampen the momentum the opposition had built up. Repeated stoppages make it very difficult for the attacking side.

I am unaware of any stats that detail the amount of time consumed by teams when their players go down in the final 20 minutes of a game. If they were to be available on a cumulative team by team basis it would make fascinating reading.

One wonders where Nigel Pearson’s Bristol City would appear in such a table of such stats.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Burton Albion 0 Wigan Athletic 0: Some Talking Points

A stunning last-ditch clearance by Kell Watts in the dying moments denied the home side of a win that they probably merited. Despite not playing well Latics held on for a valuable point that edges them closer to automatic promotion, buoyed by Rotherham’s 3-0 pasting at Portsmouth.

After the game Leam Richardson commented:

“It was always going to be challenging and you have to meet them for the fight, and hope then your bit of quality comes through. Fair credit to Burton, I thought they defended resolutely, as we did for large parts. We’ll take our point and move on.”

Latics had started in a lively manner, the wing backs pushing forward, the midfield winning the second balls. After looking in control in the first 25 minutes they gradually moved to that familiar default mode of hopeful long balls as the first half progressed. That continued for the rest of the match. Burton’s “give and go” football gave them the edge and they went close on several occasions, with Latics looking short of creativity further forward.

It was a difficult night on a narrow pitch and difficult conditions. A point was a good result for an error-strewn Wigan team unable or unwilling to string passes together. During the second half the midfield was struggling, with the wing backs reluctant to push forward. The situation was crying out for a substitution that would strengthen that midfield, but it never came.

Richardson made a substitution on 73 minutes with Stephen Humphrys replacing a tiring Joe Bennett. That involved putting Callum Lang to right wing back with Tendayi Darikwa switching flanks. Bennett had done well to play the full 90 in the previous two games after such a long recuperation period from an ACL injury. He is a conservative option at left wing back compared with Tom Pearce or James McClean who will assertively attack an opposition defence.

The substitution did not improve things and may of us were left wondering why Pearce had not been introduced or why the midfield had not been bolstered by the introduction of Jordan Cousins or Graeme Shinnie.

Richardson tends to be very cautious with substitutions, preferring to stick with his starting XI unless injury or tiredness force his hand. However, he deserves praise for temporarily deserting his favoured 4-2-3-1 to playing with three centre backs, a change that has produced results.  Jason Kerr has gone from strength to strength through his regular selection to the starting XI. He was probably Wigan’s best performer in this game.

Latics are now unbeaten in their last nine league games. The manager has done well in getting his team to where they currently are. His next immediate challenge is to prepare his players for the visit of Cambridge United on Easter Saturday. Cambridge’s away record this season reads W6 D5 L10.

The point gained in this game could well prove important to Latics as they, MK Dons and Rotherham come under pressure as the season nears its close.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com