Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Friday December 25 2009
In the build up to the big game on Boxing Day between Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers Vital Latics met up (cyberly) with Vital Blackburn for a Christmas chat about the game, the season and life in general, as usual representing the Latics was worbo and from Blackburn Mike Delap sampled the hospitality of the mince pies and festive music at Vital Towers, lets see how it went:
worbo - Seasons greetings Mike, are you looking forward to the festive fun of a cracking Boxing Day fixture?
Mike - Good god yes, I will be there live for good measure as well. Rovers will have a very healthy contingent as well for the game. Christmas is always good for football in England and this will prove to be no exception.
Wigan v Blackburn is always a fixture that has provided goals as well so let's hope this continues!
worbo - Jason Roberts, now he is a bit of a hero to the Latics faithful and I know there are still lots here who would like him back at the club, how`s he been doing this season?
Mike - Hit and miss to say the least. Everytime J-Rob has looked like being out of the picture completely at Rovers he comes back with a point to prove and shows his worth - most recently in the game against Pompey where he had a cracking game.
The problem is that he seems to have one great game and then two bad ones so he does manage to shoot himself in the foot.
Having said that he is still our second highest scorer so he has chipped in but he can leave you a bit frustrated at times (you may well know this).
But when he is in the mood, he is an asset for sure.
worbo - Now you also have another of our ex-players in your ranks, a certain Pascal Chimbonda, the man with the gloves, he was class in his time with us but lost a lot of friends with the way he left us for Spurs and I anticipate he will get a very frosty reception, how have the Rovers fans taken to him?
Mike - Pretty well on the whole. He has been a consistent performer and to be honest we haven't had loads this term.
There is a certain chap on Vital Blackburn called Glen Mullan who is from Wigan but supports Blackburn (long story) and he has never really forgiven Chimbo for his Wigan exit so he is not totaly out of the woods with everyone at Ewood Park.
But on the whole he looks classy and he WANTS to play after his spell at Spurs so we are reaping the benefits of that.
worbo - Being a Latics supporter this season has brought a sense of not quite knowing what to expect, we have been absolutely superb some weeks whilst others we simply haven`t turned up, this can be put down to some extent to the changing of our style of play and it is taking the players a while to get used to it, I see the Rovers seem to have had a bit of a dip in form lately, is it a cause for concern or like us is there a reason behind it?
Mike - I personally am not that concerned. We have been like Jekell and Hyde this season. Flaming awful on the road but generally excellent at home.
We change our formation a lot, from 4-4-1-1 to 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 to 4-3-1-2 so that could perhaps explain something but then we don't really change our 'style' of play - i.e. its very direct and in your face.
The main contributor I could think of is that we struggle to keep players fit. When one player comes back from a spell out, someone else seems to be absent - it can be difficult for consistency when you cant get a settled side out!
So in answer to your question, it isn't really a cause for concern just yet but there is no straight answer available?! So kind of in the middle somewhere!
Does that mean I am sat on the fence?!
worbo - Morten Gamst Pedersen is a player that I have admired from a far for quite a few seasons, plus he always seems to play well against us, he has a sweet left foot and if I was the Latics manager he is a player that I would like to sign, if you were in charge of the Rovers which of our players would you take and why?
Mike - First off can I just say I don't understand the non-Rovers supporter love of Morten, he has been fairly woeful for about two seasons + and if you want to take him then please be my guest! He does however seem to have good game against Wigan though!
As far as Wigan players go... sure there are three I can think of.
First off Figeuroa is a cracking player. Not just for that goal last week but for his performances for the last two seasons, he has been about as consistent as they come!
I am also quite a fan of Hugo Rodallega, he is strong and gets under your skin and seems to have a dash of flair about him so I would have him for sure.
Finally and don't ask me why, but I have always liked Jason Koumas. I understand he is erratic but if he can keep his head he can be quality.
worbo - We have a new boss at the helm, Roberto Martinez, I was just wondering what are your thoughts on him and do you feel he can be a success at the Latics?
Mike - For sure. He has an air of confidence of confidence about him and he has the backing of Dave Whelan which all managers need from their chairman.
I can't say I know him inside out but he has a very calm manner on him which I like and he is sporting which you can't say of everyone nowadays!
But on the whole, under him I expect Latics will play attractive football (more so than us) and be in stable Premier League hands.
Which is what clubs like Rovers, Wigan and Bolton need. I refuse to acknowledge Burnley in this category!
worbo - Christmas fixtures are usually littered with cancellations due to the weather, we had our home game with Bolton kicked into touch on Monday due to the state of the roads in and around Wigan, they were treacherous, but getting to my point, do you feel there should be a winter break or are you happy with the way it is at the moment, personally I like the festive fixtures they get me out of the house.
Mike I am strongly against having a winter break. Attendances at christmas football matches are always up and it is a chance for family who don't always get to games to spread their wings and support their team.
Yes, it would give players a rest and benefit the World Cup players, it might also give some of the non-football fans a break from the coverage but on the whole this is grasping at straws...
Keep it the way it is... christmas football rules!
worbo - The past few seasons have thrown up some cracking games between us here in Wigan, the 5-3 a couple of years ago being my personal favourite, this year I am forecasting a more modest 2-1 home win for the Latics, how do you see it unfolding Mike?
Mike - The opposite I am afraid for you my good man, I expect/hope Rovers get back on track here and I think with the backing of a good away following that this will be the case.
Either way, as you say, if we as a rivalry can add another good match to the series we seem to have going then we can all be happy.
Good luck for the rest of the season.
I will say 2-1 to the Rovers - Samba and McCarthy for Rovers, Rodallega for Wigan.
worbo - It`s been really good chatting and sharing the mince pies Mike, all the best for the New Year and the rest of the season
There is an interview with yours truly over on Vital Blackburn, it can be accessed by clicking here
You can listen to the Latics Speyk podcasts now by clicking on the player here:
Date:Friday December 25 2009
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